Doctors cannot be held liable for medical negligence merely because they fail to resort to an alternative method of treatment to save a patient’s life, the Delhi high court has ruled while refusing to attribute negligence on a cardiologist’s part in administering treatment to a man.
A bench of justice Subramonium Prasad observed that a professional can be held liable only when they are not possessed with requisite skills which they profess to have possessed.
“It is well settled that High Courts cannot enter into the thicket of facts while considering the allegations of medical negligence. This Court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India cannot substitute its own conclusions to the one arrived at by the experts unless the decision taken by the experts is perverse and unconscionable and has the effect of shaking the consciousness of this Court,” the court ruled in its November 6 order.
The court was considering a plea filed by Baljit Singh, who lost his 78-year-old father suffering from heart problems, alleging that the cardiologist treated his father very casually despite being told that he had undergone bypass surgery in the past.
Singh had approached the high court against the National Medical Council and Delhi Medical Council’s (DMC) order of refusing to attribute medical negligence on the cardiologist’s part. Taking note of the doctor’s casual approach in failing to mention the patient’s symptoms or any diagnosis in the prescription, DMC’s disciplinary committee, however, advised him to be more mindful of his responsibilities in future.
Singh appearing through advocate Mallika Prabhakar contended that though his father was experiencing symptoms of breathlessness, uneasiness, headache and vomiting sensation but the doctor did not conduct any tests on his father and assured him that he was not suffering from any heart related issues.
National medical council appearing through advocate Praveen Khattar submitted that Singh’s complaint was dealt with in accordance with the provisions of the Indian Medical Council (Professional conduct, Etiquette and Ethics) Regulations, 2002.