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MCI Findings Regarding Doctors' Professional Conduct Have Great Relevance In Medical Negligence Compensation Claims: Supreme Court

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
21 May 2022 10:44 AM GMT
medical negligence, res ipsa loquitor
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The Supreme Court observed that the findings of the report of Medical Council Of India on professional conduct of doctors are relevant while considering medical negligence compensation claims.

The bench comprising Justices UU Lalit, S. Ravindra Bhat and PS Narasimha also observed that in the proceedings for damages due to professional negligence, the question of intention does not arise.

In this case, the complainants before the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission prayed for monetary compensation quantified at Rs. 62,85,160 from Surgeons, Doctors and Hospital for negligence and deficiency of services. SCDRC partly allowed the complaint and two among the opposite parties were directed to pay Rs. 15,44,000 jointly and severally and Rs. 10,000 as costs. The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission allowed the appeal of these opposite parties and set aside the order of the SCDRC holding that negligence was not proved by the complainants.

While the proceedings were pending before the SCDRC, the complainants had also made a complaint to the Punjab State Medical Council against the professional misconduct of the doctors/surgeons/hospitals. As this complaint got summarily disposed of, they filed appeals before Medical Council Of India. The Ethics Committee of MCI held one doctor medically negligent and issued a strict warning to be more careful during the procedure and to be more diligent in treating and monitoring his patients during and after the operation.

Before the Apex Court in appeal, the complainants/appellants submitted that NCDRC gave its decision without referring to the MCI finding. The issue considered by the court was whether the complainant has established professional negligence on the part of Respondents as per the standards governing the duty to care of a medical practitioner?

Referring to the contents in the report of MCI, the bench observed that the opinion and findings of the MCI regarding the professional conduct of Respondent 1 have great relevance. It observed:

The above-referred findings of the MCI on the conduct of Respondent 1 leave no doubt in our mind that this is certainly a case of medical negligence leading to deficiency in his services.. We are of the opinion that the NCDRC has committed an error in reversing the findings of the SCDRC and not adverting to the evidence on record including the report of the MCI. The decision of the NCDRC deserves to be set aside and we hold that the complainants have made out a case of medical negligence against Respondents 1 and 2 and are entitled to seek compensation on the ground of deficiency of service.

The court therefore directed the Respondents to pay to the complainants a total amount of Rs. 25,00,000 with interest @ 6% per annum from the date of SCDRC order as compensation.

Case details

Harnek Singh vs Gurmit Singh | 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 511 | CA 4126-4127/2022 | 18 May 2022

Coram: Justices UU Lalit, S. Ravindra Bhat and PS Narasimha

Counsel: Adv Raj Kiran Talwar for appellant, Adv Sushil Kumar Gupta, Adv Suruchi Suri, Adv Anuj Chauhan for respondents

Headnotes

Medical Negligence - Opinion and findings of the MCI regarding the professional conduct of a doctor have great relevance while considering claim for compensation on the basis of medical negligence. (Para 35)

Medical Negligence - In the proceedings for damages due to professional negligence, the question of intention does not arise. (Para 29)

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