Batra Hospital ordered to pay Rs.11 lakh compensation

December 24th, 2009 - 9:05 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 24 (IANS) Ruling that medical care also included the safety and security of a patient, the Delhi High Court Thursday ordered Batra Hospital to pay a man, who jumped out of the hospital’s third floor window, a compensation of Rs.11 lakh.
The court was hearing the appeal of the hospital that was ordered to pay Rs.7 lakh by a single bench judge to Ashish Kumar Majumdar, who was admitted in the hospital following high fever suspected to be typhoid.

However, Majumdar’s condition did not improve so the doctors decided to change the treatment and put him on different medicines.

On Oct 31, after giving Majumdar medicine, doctors left him sleeping in his third floor room but in the middle of the night, his sister Kajal noticed that he was not in the room and informed the staff nurse.

Majumdar has reportedly jumped out of his window and suffered multiple fracture with complete dislocation of the spinal cord. Despite treatment, he became disabled below the waist.

A division bench of Justices Vikramjit Sen and Sunil Gaur said: “Quality of care expected from specialized private hospitals is not ordinary but of a high degree.”

Majumdar in his plea alleged that the hospital had not taken proper care of him and due to their negligence he is confined to a wheel chair for rest of his life and he needs a full time attendant to look after him.

However, the hospital said it cannot be held responsible for the patient’s act of jumping out of the window of his room and the consequent complications suffered by him cannot be said to be result of any negligence on its part.

“Duty of care in the case of hospitals is not limited to diagnosis and treatment but extends to providing safe and secure place to ensure that the patients do not injure themselves. It is not uncommon that patients who are sick or under medication can become delirious, incoherent or act in a manner which would be harmful and not in their interest,” the court said.

“Strict vigil in hospital premises and round the clock safety checks are required to prevent a patient from taking steps or acting in a manner that could cause injury or harm,” the court added.

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