Medical negligence and consumer protection law


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Medical negligence and consumer protection law

  1. 1. Shelley Anandhavalli. E
  2. 2. <ul><li>Negligence is the breach of a legal duty to care . </li></ul><ul><li>Negligence is the breach of a duty caused by omission to do something which a reasonable man guided by those considerations which ordinarily regulate the conduct of human affairs would do, or doing something which a prudent and reasonable man would not do. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Constituent elements <ul><li>Duty to meet a particular standard of care </li></ul><ul><li>Breach/ failure to perform the duty; </li></ul><ul><li>a casual connection between Defendant’s failure and Plaintiff’s injury/Consequent damage </li></ul><ul><li>Injury itself </li></ul>
  4. 4. CONSUMER <ul><li>Section 2 (d) (ii) in defining a consumer uses the expression 'hires and avails of&quot;. </li></ul><ul><li>CONSUMER </li></ul><ul><ul><li>hires or avails of any services </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>for a consideration which has been paid or promised or partly paid and partly prom­ised, or under any system of deferred payment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>includes any beneficiary of such services other than the person who 'hires or avails of the services </li></ul></ul><ul><li>the words &quot;any service&quot; in s. 2 (d) (ii) in Consumer Protection Act aims to bring the delinquent medical practitioners within the ambit of Consumer Protection Act . </li></ul>
  5. 5. SERVICE <ul><li>s. 2 (o), Consumer Protection Act defines service. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>service of any description </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>  does not include the rendering of any service free of charge or under a contract of personal service </li></ul></ul><ul><li>exempts only two types of services: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>service free of charge </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Contract of service </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>
  6. 6. Contract of/for service <ul><ul><li>Contract of service </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>a relationship of master and servant </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>it is beyond the ambit of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, under Section 2(1)(o) of the Act. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Contract for service </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>a contract whereby one party undertakes to render services (such as professional or technical services) to another, in which the service provider is not subjected to a detailed direction and control. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The provider exercises professional / technical skill and uses his or her own knowledge and discretion. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Indian Medical Association v. V.P. Shantha and Ors [AIR 1996 SC 550]: <ul><li>SC – ‘whether a medical practitioner renders 'service' and can be proceeded against for 'deficiency in service' before a forum u/the Act? </li></ul><ul><li>HELD : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>medical professionals do not enjoy any immunity from being sued in contract or tort (i.e. in civil jurisdiction) on the ground of negligence. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>even though services rendered by medical practitioners are of a personal nature they cannot be treated as contracts of personal service (which are excluded from the Act). They are contracts for service, under which a doctor too can be sued in Consumer Protection Courts. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>THUS </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A doctor, when consulted by a patient owes him a duty of care in </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>deciding to undertake the case; </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>the administration of that treatment </li></ul></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Application of Bolam Test <ul><li>‘ Bolam Vs. Frien Hospital Management’ </li></ul><ul><ul><li>set three criteria for the safety of the medical professional: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>must possess adequate skill in that area of medical practice; </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>exercises reasonable care while performing his skill. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Mere negligence will not make out a case for compensation against him but that negligence should have a direct nexus with the injury caused to the complainant. If the injury does not have a direct link towards negligence, no award of compensation exists. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Lakshman Balkrishna Joshi <ul><li>“ the practitioner must bring to his task </li></ul><ul><ul><li>a reasonable degree of skill and knowledge </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>must exercise a reasonable degree of care </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Neither the very highest nor a very low degree of care and competence judged in particular circumstances of each case is what the law requires. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The doctor, no doubt, has discretion in choosing treatment which he proposes to give to the patient and such discretion is relatively ampler in cases of emergency” </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Burden of proof and chances of error <ul><li>Lies with the complainant. </li></ul><ul><li>Higher standard evidence (to support an allegation of negligence against a doctor) </li></ul><ul><li>Establish claim against the doctor. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Calcutta Medical Research Institute vs Bimalesh Chatterjee <ul><li>held that the onus of proving negligence and the resultant deficiency in service was clearly on the complainant. </li></ul><ul><li>In Kanhaiya Kumar Singh vs Park Medicare & Research Centre , it was held that negligence has to be established and cannot be presumed. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Some acts that amounts to medical negligence <ul><ul><li>Failure to attend the patient </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Non attending complicated delivery </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Not revealing HIV positive status </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Denture : unfitting </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Injections wrongly given </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Foreign matter in the abdomen </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Failed tubectomy operation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Forceps delivery </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Perforation of uterus </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Contaminated blood transfusion </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dispensing wrong drugs </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. INFORMED CONSENT: <ul><li>Information about </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Diagnosis </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Nature of treatment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Risks involved </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Prospects of success/prognosis </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Alternative methods of treatment </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Jasbir Kaur v State of Punjab, AIR 1995 P&H 278 <ul><ul><li>In Shri Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, Amritsar – newlyborn baby was missing from the bed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Later on the child was found in profusely bleeding condition and with one eye totally gouged out with the eyeball, near the wash basin of the bathroom – </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>hospital authorities contended the mischief of cat, which caused damage </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>defendants were held liable </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. <ul><li>THANK YOU </li></ul>