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Negligent doctors asked to cough up 3 lakhs for death of patient

In a judgement that might stir up another controversy, pitting the doctors against the consumer activists, negligent doctors in Kerala have been asked to pay three lakh rupees as compensation to the family of a pregnant woman who died due to aftershock of spinal anesthesia. The issue of doctors coming under the umbrella of consumer protection act has been a very controversial one with legal luminaries having diametrically opposite views on this. However these days doctors are being pulled up for negligence and this latest episode in Attingal, Kerala will serve as a grim warning to errant medical practitioners. Mrs. Chandrakala, wife of S Sharma of Chirayinkil, had consulted Dr. Sathy M. Pillai from the early stages of her pregnancy as she had had a miscarriage once. She was admitted to Samad Hospital on April 25,1996, on the advice of the doctor for proper care.

The doctor advised that sutures be made at the opening of the uterus to prevent an abortion and she was taken to the operation theatre at 0600 hrs on May 23. At 2200 hrs, she vomited and at midnight, the relatives heard her loud cries. They were told that the patient was mentally upset and that she had been put on sedatives. But around 1130 hrs the next day, Chandrakala died.

The post mortem revealed that death had occurred due to the aftershock of spinal anesthesia. The complainants alleged that the doctors had been careless in administering anesthesia and in giving post-operative care.

The State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has awarded a compensation of Rs. 3,00,000 to Chandrakala’s relatives who the Commission said died due to medical negligence and lack of proper post-operative care.

Dr Sathy M.Pillai and Dr K G Madhavan Pillai of Samad Hospital, Attingal, have been ordered to pay the compensation and Rs 3,000 as costs to the victim’s husband and mothe.

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