Indian News

Gynaecologist liable in case of delay in cesarean delivery

Source: , Posted On:   28 September 2022


Malini was registered as a patient of Dr. Shobha for delivery. When labour pain commenced, she requested for a room, but none was available. She was asked to meet Dr. Ashwini who advised a scan from Malnad Diagnostic Centre which was nearby.
Despite being in pain, she obtained the report, and Dr. Ashwini advised immediate caesarean delivery. Since no anaesthetist was available, a normal delivery was attempted, but it failed. Finally caesarean delivery was performed.
After delivery, the family members were informed that both the mother and the child were healthy. Next morning, a swelling was noticed on the child's right arm. An X-ray was taken which revealed that the bone was broken.
Malini filed a complaint against Dr. Ashwini as well as Dr. Shobha, seeking Rs 10 lakh as compensation for alleged medical negligence of fracturing the baby's arm during the caesarean delivery on April 2, 2012 at Mc.Gann Hospital at Shimoga in Karnataka.
The doctor contested the case contending that the complaint was not maintainable as the delivery was done in a government hospital, free of charge. It was stated that the baby was also examined by a paediatrician who did not find anything wrong with the child.
The District Commission held the complaint to be maintainable. It relied on the hospital's internal Inquiry Report which had found Dr. Ashwini guilty of medical negligence, and held her liable to pay Rs 5 lakh as compensation and Rs 3,000 as litigation costs.
Dr. Ashwini challenged this order, but her appeal was dismissed by the State Commission. She then approached the National Commission, which observed that the medical records revealed that caesarean was made difficult as the child's head had got fastened in the uterus during the delay in getting an anaesthetist, and it was likely that the arm got fractured while bringing out the child.
The Commission noted that the hospital investigation report established negligence while conducting the delivery. It held that the concurrent finding of negligence on the part of the District as well as State Commissions could not be questioned in revision.
Accordingly, by its order of September 13, 2022 delivered by Justice Ram Surat Ram Maurya, the National Commission dismissed Dr. Ashwini's revision and held her liable to pay compensation as awarded by the District Commission.