By this Revision Petition, Billroth Hospitals Ltd. (earlier named as Chennai Kaliappa Hospital), where a 15 year old boy had breathed his last, and its Managing Director, who had treated the deceased, call in question the correctness and legality of the order dated 15.9.2010, passed by the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Chennai (for short “the State Commission”) in FA/385/2006. By the impugned order, the State Commission has affirmed the order dated 3.4.2006, passed by the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Chennai (South) (for short “the District Forum”). By the said order, while allowing the Complaint filed by the mother of the deceased, alleging medical negligence on the part of Petitioner No.2 (for short “the treating doctor”), in wrongly diagnosing and treating the deceased for suspected ‘Measles’, instead of Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis (TEN), the District Forum had directed the Petitioners to pay to the Complainant a compensation of ₹3,00,000/- for the loss of life of her son.
2. On re-appraisal of the entire evidence, including the testimony of the Court witness, namely, Dr. V.R. Janaki, a Specialist in Dermatology, the State Commission has concurred with the conclusion arrived at by the District Forum to the effect that there was negligence in the treatment of the deceased on the part of the treating doctor, resulting in his death in the Petitioner Hospital on 11.7.2000, observing thus :
“Thus, by going through the oral evidence of Dr. V.R. Janaki, as well as case records, we are of the considered opinion that the patient has been wrongly diagnosed, resulting isolation, leading the condition of the boy worsening, failure to put the patient in ICU, which would have prevented the aggravation of the patient’s condition, administered wrong drugs to the patient, suspecting Chicken Pox/Measles, failing to detect Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis at earliest point of time, by engaging the service of the Dermatologist, thereby, allowing the health condition of the boy to be deteriorated, though they have charged more than ₹70,000/- as fees, which will come clearly within the meaning of medical negligence, and deficiency in service, warranting compensation. The District Forum considering all these facts as well as mostly relying upon the oral evidence of the Dr.Janaki, reached a correct conclusion, that the opposite parties have committed deficiency, preceded by medical negligence, administering wrong medicines, for which, they are directed to pay a moderate sum of ₹3 lakhs, that too, for the death of young boy aged about 15, which cannot be considered, as exorbitant or arbitrarily or on the higher side. For these reasons, the Appeal deserves to be dismissed as not meritorious.”
- Hence, the present Revision Petition.
4. Mr.Varadarajan, Learned Counsel appearing for the Petitioners has vehemently submitted that both the Forums below have committed material irregularity in affirming the allegation of medical negligence on the part of the treating doctor, as the Fora below have not considered that as soon as it was discovered that the deceased was not responding to the treatment given to him, for treating ‘Measles’, a Dermatologist, namely, Dr. V.R. Janaki, was immediately called, who diagnosed that the deceased was suffering from TEN. It is also argued that even after the said diagnosis, the Complainant took more than 4 days in shifting the deceased from the Petitioner Hospital to Apollo Hospital for further specialized treatment and therefore, there was contributory negligence on the part of the Complainant herself.
5. Having carefully perused the typed copies of the medical record placed on record and the testimony of Dr. V.R. Janaki, who had been summoned as a court witness, we are unable to persuade ourselves to agree with the learned Counsel. It is evident from the History Chart of the patient, starting from 11.7.2000, that on the date of admission itself, on examination, the treating Doctor, Petitioner No.2 herein, had noticed that the patient was having “Toxic Generalized Eruptions (+)”. However, ignoring these symptoms and relying on his own diagnosis, he continued with his treatment on the premise that the deceased was a case of ‘Measles’. It was only on 13.7.2000, i.e. after two days, when he noticed “bullious eruptions” throughout the body, that he decided to call a Dermatologist, namely, Dr. V.R. Janaki, but that too on the following day, i.e., 14.7.2000. In her testimony, Dr.Janaki has clearly opined that any patient suffering from skin disease of the kind the patient was suffering from, needs attention of a Dermatologist immediately, as for a Dermatologist it is very easy to distinguish TEN from Chicken-pox, which may be difficult for other Doctors and non-dermatologists to distinguish. She has also opined that generally 90% of origination of TEN is by medicines (drugs) and remotest possibility is by Chicken-pox. She has further opined that if ‘Methyl Prednisolone’ had been started on day one, it might have helped the patient to recover and it was quite possible that he would not have developed Septicemia and other complications, if he was kept in the ICU on the day one itself. She finally opined that early diagnosis of TEN would have definitely helped to save the patient/deceased. Admittedly, no evidence in rebuttal to the testimony of Dr.Janaki, who was summoned as a Court witness, was adduced on behalf of the Petitioners. The plea, now urged by the learned Counsel that the deceased could have developed Septicemia because of the delay in his shifting to Apollo Hospital, stands negated from the History Chart itself, wherein on examination of the deceased on 14.7.2000 at 2.50 PM in Petitioner No.1 Hospital, the development of Septicemia had been recorded.
The submission of learned Counsel appearing for the Petitioners that if at all there was any negligence, it was only at the Chennai Kaliappa Hospital, which has now been taken over by the present Petitioner is stated to be rejected as the same has no bearing on the issue before us.
In view of the above, we do not find any jurisdictional error in the impugned order warranting our interference in our limited Revisional jurisdiction. Bearing in mind the fact that the deceased was a young boy of 15 years of age, the amount of compensation awarded cannot be held to be excessive by any standards.
Consequently, the Revision Petition fails and is dismissed accordingly with costs quantified at ₹10,000/-.
In our view, in so far as the question of vicarious liability is concerned, the said aspect is of no consequence.
Learned counsel appearing for the Petitioners submits that the entire decretal amount already stands deposited in the District Forum. If that be so, the same shall be released to the Respondent/Complainant forthwith, along with the accrued interest, if any.