Man, 60, Gets $12,500 In Action Over Medical Negligence

Posted On:   20 March 2018

Fiji – 30th January, 2018: The High Court in Suva yesterday awarded a 60-year-old Nasinu man $10,000 in damages after he won a lawsuit due to negligence by a doctor who had examined him when he was admitted for testicular swelling.

The plaintiff Jai Narayan was further awarded an additional $2500 as costs summarily assessed by the court.

In his statement of claim, Mr Narayan said that he was admitted at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital on March 19, 2013, with testicular swelling and fever.

He said he was diagnosed with epididymo-orchitis and was administered penicillin to which he negatively reacted to and collapsed.

He also claimed that the doctors then advised his wife that he was dead and would have to be taken to the morgue.

When he was about to be taken to the morgue his eyebrow and forehead moved slightly and upon examination the doctors declared him alive.

While delivering his judgment, Judge Justice Lyone Seneviratne said the evidence presented led the court to conclude that one Dr Mafa who had examined the plaintiff had not discharged the duty of care expected of a doctor.

“Unlike in any other profession, the degree of responsibility of a doctor towards his or her patient is very much higher.

“Dr Mafa has failed to discharge that duty to the satisfaction of all concerned,” Justice Seneviratne said.

The court heard that the doctor failed to check the folders even after being informed by the patient’s wife that he was allergic to penicillin based drugs. For that reason the court held that Dr Mafa had not exercised reasonable skill and care towards Mr Narayan.

However, the court ruled that the doctors did not abandon Mr Narayan when he went into an anaphylactic shock and was pronounced dead.

In her evidence, Dr Mafa said that after the patient went into shock she and the others tried to support his respiratory system after which he started breathing again.

Furthermore, one of Mr Narayan’s witnesses had said in evidence that he saw a doctor pressing Mr Narayan’s chest.

“If the patient was pronounced dead by the doctors they would not have done all these things including cardiac massage,” Justice Seneviratne said.

The defendants in the case are CWM Hospital medical superintendent, the Ministry of Health permanent secretary and the Attorney-General of Fiji.