SC awards Rs. 10 Lakhs compensation to a patient who developed hoarseness in his voice due to medical negligence by doctors while administering anaesthesia

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Recently, the Supreme Court (SC) awarded a compensation of Rs. 10 Lakhs to a patient who developed hoarseness in his voice due to medical negligence committed by Manipal Hospital doctors while administering anaesthesia. The matter was heard by a two-judge bench consisting of Justice Hima Kohli and Justice Ahsanuddin Amanullah. In this case, the patient (now deceased) claimed Rs. 18,00,000 compensation against the faulty operation committed by doctors resulting in hoarseness in his voice. He also claimed that due to such ailment, he was deprived of promotion in the job and had to continue work in the same post from 2003 without promotion till his death (2015). The appellant patient also alleged that the breach of duty was committed by the Hospital administration while delegating a critical duty to a trainee anaesthetist. 

Further, the respondent Hospital claimed that the District Forum erred in discarding the doctor's evidence stating that there was nothing wrong in giving anaesthesia via a double-lumen tube. In this context, the bench said “Mere reliance on medical literature would not be sufficient to exonerate the Hospital from its duty of ensuring that the Head of the Department, Anaesthesia ought to have inserted the Double Lumen Tube. Instead, he was not available and the task was delegated to a trainee anaesthetist.” After hearing the matter, the SC bench observed that the District Forum had failed to consider all aspects to give rightful compensation to the patient. The SC said, “Given the aforesaid facts and circumstances of the case, we are of the opinion that the District Forum ought to have taken all the aforesaid aspects into consideration for arriving at a rightful compensation payable to the deceased which in the instant case, has not been done.” The SC directed the Hospital to give Rs. 10 Lakhs with interest as compensation to the patient, against the compensation, of Rs. 5 Lakhs, awarded by District Forum.