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The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) recently heard an instance of medical negligence that concluded on a heartwarming note when the defendant hospital, although winning the case, decided to pay the patient’s family ₹ 7 lakh out of compassion.

The State Dispute Redressal Commission found the hospital and physicians responsible for the patient’s death and granted the patient’s family compensation in the amount of Rs. 7 lakh.

The same was overruled by NCDRC Presiding Officer Dr SM Kanitkar, however the hospital declared its willingness to reimburse the ₹7 lakh that had already been deposited with the State Commission.

Although the NCDRC agreed, it stated that the same should not be seen as a precedent.

“The learned Counsel for OPs made comments in response to instructions from OP-1 that the OP-1 voluntarily wishes to pay the amount of Rs. 7 lakh that has already been deposited with the State Commission. This is being done for humanitarian reasons. As a result, the Registrar of the State Commission is compelled to pay the complainants Rs. 7 lakhs plus accrued interest within six weeks of today. According to the judgement, it is made clear that this “shall not in any way be construed as a precedent.”

Relevantly, the NCDRC stated in its ruling that until there is evidence on file to the contrary, no patient death may be categorically attributed to medical malpractice.

While overturning the State Commission’s order, the NCDRC noted that in the present instance, the surgeons in the operating room successfully handled the problems and performed resuscitation.

The situation started when a 37-year-old patient who had undergone laparoscopic sterilization passed away after the procedure. The plaintiff claimed that the simultaneous administration of general anaesthesia and spinal anaesthesia to the patient was the cause of death.

The claim was made that the procedure was carried out carelessly. Additionally, it was alleged that the doctor who gave the anaesthesia lacked the necessary training because he was not an anaesthetist. [1]

However, doctors countered that the patient was carefully handled, swiftly transferred to a higher centre and that everything necessary was carried out with the patient’s best interests in mind.

The doctor was qualified to deliver anaesthesia for simple operations, according to the Commission.

Had almost 25 years of expertise in the field of anaesthesia. Doctors with an MBBS are permitted to give anaesthesia by the Travancore Kochi Medical Council. According to me, she was qualified to provide anaesthesia for simple operations, the NCDRC stated.

It made reference to the Jacob Mathew v. State of Punjab case, in which the Supreme Court established the criteria for determining medical negligence. It was stated that it cannot always be assumed that a medical expert was careless when a patient dies during surgery or when a therapy is unsuccessful.

As a result, the appeal against the State Commission’s decision was granted.

But the hospital asked that the complaint be given access to the ₹7 lakh that had already been deposited with the State Commission out of consideration for other people.

Advocates Saju Jakob, Arush Gangal, and Tessy Varghese defended the complainants.

Advocates Raghenth Basant and Ajay Krishna spoke on behalf of Deen Hospital. [2]

Case Title: [Philips Thomas v Deen Hospital].

Written by- Himanshu Mishra, a student at St. Mother Teresa Law Degree College, Lucknow, 2nd Semester, an intern under Legal Vidhiya.


[1] BAR AND BENCH, https://www.barandbench.com/news/litigation/hospital-wins-medical-negligence-case-ncdrc-still-agrees-pay-7-lakh-patient-family-humanitarian-grounds (last visited on June 12, 2023);


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