On Monday 6th August 2018, The Delhi High Court declined to hold a doctor's services and the hospital blameworthy of medical negligence; just on the charge that the sterilization operation performed on a woman was unsuccessful.
An appeal challenging the judgment was passed by the Trial Court in August 2005. Filed by the Lok Nayak Hospital, where the hospital was charged guilty of medical negligence and was made to pay the plaintiff a compensation amount of Rs. 2, 20,000. In the challenged judgment, the sterilization operation performed on the woman turned out to be unsuccessful which lead to her conceiving again.
In the present case, the plaintiff had alleged that the doctors and the hospital had failed to conduct the operation correctly. The statement made by the hospital was that she had already signed two forms before going for the operation, in which it was clearly stated that the operation may not be successful. The form clearly protected the doctor from responsibilities if the operation somehow turns out to be unsuccessful.
Justice Valmiki J. Mehta observed, “Since medically there is never a 100% chance of success in sterilization operations and the mere fact that the operation was not successful, that by itself cannot be a reason to hold the appellant/ defendant and its doctors guilty of negligence.”
The order came in favour of the hospital stating that only merely on the allegations of negligence made by the plaintiff, the hospital and the doctors cannot be held guilty. There was no such intentional act of negligence committed by the doctors.
The Court observed, “Therefore, the mere fact that the respondent’s/ plaintiff’s sterilization operation was not successful, it cannot mean that the appellant/defendant and its doctors can be held liable for negligence. It’s the case of the respondent/plaintiff if there was any specific negligence committed by the doctor namely Dr Deepa in this case, while conducting the operation. Once there is no specific allegation of negligence it cannot be held that in law the appellant/ defendant is liable.”
More to the above-made observations by the Court, the court was of the opinion that if the plaintiff did not want to bear a child, she could have opted for the process of abortion. This appeal was allowed, setting aside the challenged order.
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