Ensure Time-Bound Immediate Investigation In Medical Negligence Cases: Kerala High Court Directs State Chief Secretary
The Kerala High Court on Thursday directed the State Chief Secretary to take necessary steps to ensure time-bound and immediate investigation in medical negligence cases, in consultation with the State Police Chief and the Director of Health Service. "In medical negligence case, both sides want immediate action. Sometime, unnecessary complaints will be there against the doctors alleging...
The Kerala High Court on Thursday directed the State Chief Secretary to take necessary steps to ensure time-bound and immediate investigation in medical negligence cases, in consultation with the State Police Chief and the Director of Health Service.
"In medical negligence case, both sides want immediate action. Sometime, unnecessary complaints will be there against the doctors alleging medical negligence, and if the investigation is delayed, the doctors may have to face unnecessary humiliation. Similarly, the victims also want early decisions in medical negligence case. Therefore, a time bound investigation is necessary in these types of cases," the Single Judge Bench of Justice P.V. Kunhikrishnan observed.
The direction was issued by the Court while dealing with a plea alleging unnecessary delay in the completion of the investigation in an instance of medical negligence.
The petitioners, who are the legal heirs of the deceased, submitted that the latter had been admitted in the respondent hospital for getting Gastroenterological opinion on the multiple polyps in his intestine. It is alleged that in addition to the upper GI Endoscopy with Biopsy that had been advised, Polypectomy was also performed on the deceased without prior consent and explaining the risks of the same to the petitioners.
The petitioners alleged that the deceased lost his life due to the medical negligence and lack of proper medical care by the respondent hospital. They averred that the report of the Medical Expert Committee headed by the District Medical Officer, Thiruvananthapuram also clearly indicated medical negligence of the hospital.
The petitioners thus filed the present plea seeking entrusment of the investigation in the case to the Crime Branch or to a Special Investigation Team headed by a police officer not below the rank of the Superintendent of Police.
The Court closed the case taking note of the submission by the Prosecution of receipt of the State Apex Expert Committee Report as well as the fact that the final report would be filed by the police within a week.
It however reminded that adequate steps ought to be taken to expedite investigation of medical negligence cases. In this regard it also directed the District Level Medical Expert Committee and the State Level Apex Expert Committee to take appropriate decisions within a time frame fixed by the competent authority.
The plea was thus disposed.
Advocate M.S. Amal Dharsan appeared on behalf of the petitioners. The respondents were represented by Public Prosecutor Hrithwick C.S.
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Ker) 700
Case Title: Ushakumari O. & Ors. v. State of Kerala & Ors.
Case Number: WP (C) No. 9355 of 2021