NATIONAL CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL COMMISSION
(From the order dated 13.2.2003 in Appeal No.172/00 of the State Commission, Andhra Pradesh)
L. Sunil Reddy & Ors. Petitioners
HONBLE MR. JUSTICE M.B.SHAH, PRESIDENT.
MRS. RAJYALAKSHMI RAO, MEMBER
For the Petitioners : Mr. A. Ramakrishna Reddy, Advocate
For the Respondents : Mr.S.K.Sharma, Advocate with
Mr. K. Sanjeeva Reddy, Advocate.
O R D E R
The heirs of the deceased, Narasimha Reddy, filed a complaint No.
C.D. No. 134 of 1994, before the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum,
The District Forum referred to medical book which, inter alia, provided that Operative treatment :- A decision should be made within (48) hours of the commencement of bleeding, particularly, if the patient re-bleeds. Experience has shown that when operation is delayed beyond that time the mortality rises steeply. Thereafter, the District Forum considered the relevant material which was brought on record and directed the Respondents to pay Rs.3,60,000/- as compensation with interest at the rate of 15% p.a. from 2.3.1994, i.e. from the date of presenting the complaint till the date of depositing the same.
Feeling aggrieved, the Opposite Parties preferred appeal No.172 of 2000 before the Andhra Pradesh State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission. That appeal was allowed by the judgment and order dated 13.2.2003 by holding that the Doctor (Respondent No.2) adopted the conservative course of treatment by giving medicine. The State Commission observed that, admittedly, in the present case, the patient was suffering from peptic ulcer from 1988; that the Complainants have not examined any expert nor have filed any literature to throw light on the dispute; that Dr.Venkataram Reddy carried out endoscopy and that he was qualified to perform the same as he was M.S.F., F.C.S. It was further observed that he was the only one to conduct endoscopy as there was no other Gastroenterologist in the District. The State Commission, therefore, set aside the order of the District Forum. Hence, the Complainants are in revision before us.
In this Revision Petition, the question which requires consideration is whether, in the facts and circumstances of the case, not carrying out surgery amounts to deficiency in service.
In our view, the findings recorded by the State Commission cannot be said to be in any way erroneous. The law with regard to medical negligence is settled. A doctor is not guilty of negligence if he has acted in accordance with the practice accepted as proper by a responsible body of medical men skilled in that particular art. It is for the expert doctor to decide what type of treatment should be given and to decide whether the operation should be performed or not. The duty of the Doctor or a hospital is expected to take reasonable care in administration of the treatment. They cannot be condemned in case of misadventure.
It is also to be remembered that medical negligence is a complicated subject and the liability of Doctor always depends upon the circumstances of a particular case. In Poonam Verma Vs. Ashwin Patel & Ors, (1996) 4 SCC 332, the Apex Court held that negligence as a tort is the breach of a duty caused by omission to do some thing which a reasonable man would do, or doing something which a prudent and reasonable man would not do. In Achutrao Haribhau Khodwa Vs. State of Maharashtra & Ors., (1996) 2 SCC 634, the Apex Court held as under: (SCC pp. 645-46, para 14)
A doctor will not be guilty of negligence if he has acted in accordance with the practice accepted as proper by a responsible body of medical men skilled in that particular art and if he has acted in accordance with such practice then merely because there is a body of opinion that takes a contrary view will not make him liable for negligence.
Admittedly, in the present case, the patient was suffering from peptic ulcer since 1988. At the relevant time he was having bleeding peptic ulcer with metabolic encephalopathy.
As per the case-sheet the patient was suffering from ulcer since 1988 and did not follow the regular diet habits. Dr.K.Bucchi Reddy who is the consulting Physician to Kakatiya University Health Centre, has stated before the District Forum that after examining the deceased he came to the conclusion that he was an alcoholic as the attendants informed him that the deceased was a chronic alcoholic and smoker and found serum bilirubin elevated. Endoscopy was done on 14.6.1996 and the same was not performed on 13.6.1996 because it was felt that insertion of tube during the course of endoscopy may cause complication in bleeding. Dr.Venkulu Reddy carried out endoscopy and according to him the patients position was critical on the said day. In such a situation, he cannot be operated. If that was done, he would have died on the operation table.
Considering the aforesaid evidence, in our view, the impugned order passed by the State Commission cannot be said to be in any way erroneous.
In the result, the Revision Petition is dismissed. The order of the State Commission is upheld. There shall be no order as to costs.