Court Books Renowned Hospital, Doctor For Patient’s Death

Medical Negligence or no medical negligence
A woman, who lost her husband to sheer medico-legal negligence five years ago, finally got some relief after a city court ordered that the National Heart Institute (NHI) in East of Kailash and one of its doctors be put on trial.
Kamal Prakash Sharma was admitted to the well-known heart hospital five years ago. Due to the alleged carelessness of the hospital, his condition soon worsened. But instead of disclosing facts about his deteriorated condition to his family, the hospital discharged him, and stated that he was “stable”. In fact, he had been diagnosed with lung cancer that the hospital never revealed.
Sharma was admitted to NHI on January 18, 2012. He was experiencing discomfort in the chest and a sensation of choking. He was discharged on February 11. The hospital termed his condition to be “stable”. He died on February 24.
His wife Kamlesh, a former cop, then began a battle to get justice. The court has now observed that prima facie, Section 304 A (causing death by negligence) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), is to be made out against the authorities. The maximum punishment for the offense is two years in jail.
The court framed the charges after the hospital and one of its doctors pleaded not guilty. A senior hospital official, whom DNA spoke to, termed the charges as “baseless” and said the court was yet to give a final verdict in the case.
Framing charges against the two accused, Metropolitan Magistrate Ankit Lal said: “It is alleged against you that both of you have been rash and negligent as you failed to provide appropriate counseling to KP Sharma regarding lung cancer, which resulted in the death of the patient…Notice of offense 304 A is framed against both the accused.”
The accused have been put on trial for allegedly not providing appropriate medical treatment to Sharma. According to Kamlesh’s lawyer RN Rai, Sharma was diagnosed with lung cancer on the fifth day of hospitalization itself but the hospital neither gave him proper treatment nor did it bother to disclose this to his family.
Rail said: “Sharma could have been saved had he being given treated for cancer but the hospital chose to not even disclose this to his family and discharged him.” To back his claims, Rai referred to a medical board report, comprising doctors of Safdarjung Hospital, which stated that Sharma was not given adequate treatment for lung cancer.
Apart from this charge, Kamlesh also alleged in the court that a day after her husband’s hospitalization, she received a call from the hospital that her husband had fallen from the bed. But when she reached the hospital, Sharma told her that he fell because of the carelessness of ward boys. Kamlesh said her husband suffered a fall during the changing of his bed sheet.
Further, Kamlesh submitted to the court medical reports that showed Sharma suffered serious spinal injuries after the incident.
Meanwhile, the NHI authorities said the allegations against the hospital and its doctor was “concocted”. The trial in the case will begin on May 1.
…& ANALYSIS
Medical negligence cases are often not easy to establish. There needs to be a strong deterrent, not just for doctors but also for the hospital management. Often, the hospital management does not cooperate with complainants.
NEGLIGENCE
• Kamal Prakash Sharma was admitted to the well-known heart hospital five years ago
• Due to the alleged carelessness of the hospital, his condition soon worsened.
• The court said hospital authorities should be prima facie be the book under, Section 304 A (causing death by negligence) of the IPC

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