Source: Inhouse illustration
Source: Inhouse illustration

Doctor going abroad is not medical negligence: SC

One-liner: A medical professional has to upgrade himself with the latest development in his field which may require him to attend conferences held both in and outside the country and the mere fact that the doctor had gone abroad cannot lead to an inference of medical negligence, the SC on Tuesday said.

Crux of the matter: The top court was hearing an appeal filed by the hospital challenging the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC)  order which had directed it and the concerned doctor to pay a sum of ₹14.18 lakh along with interest to the legal heirs of the deceased.

Consumer panel’s decision set aside: A bench observed while setting aside an order of the NCDRC which had directed the hospital and a doctor to pay the hefty sum along with interest to the legal heirs of the deceased.

Errors in findings: The top court said it does not find that the basis of finding the doctor negligent in providing medical care is sustainable as there are both legal and factual errors in the findings recorded by the Commission.

Every death not due to negligence: It said every death of a patient cannot, on the face of it, be considered to be medical negligence.

Adverse comments: The apex court said that the NCDRC had commented adversely against the doctor that he had not seen or attended the patient for several days before his departure for his tour to USA and UK for about a month.

· The doctor had not even indicated the name of any super specialist in his field who should look after the patient in his absence

Treatment given: The Bench said that the patient was even attended by other specialist doctors as well which is evident from the brief summary of treatment given to him. The experts in the other fields have been consulted from time to time and the treatment was modulated accordingly.

  • “ In spite of the treatment, if the patient had not survived, the doctors cannot be blamed as even the doctors with the best of their abilities cannot prevent the inevitable."

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