Medical negligence can’t be adjudicated by state Health Regulatory Body: HC

Kolkata: Setting aside the judgement of the Single Judge, the Division Bench of Calcutta High Court recently held that the issues of medical negligence cannot be adjudicated by the West Bengal Clinical Establishment Regulatory Commission (WBCERC).

“The negligence in detection of diseases and the allegation of not giving proper medicines to the patient and further improper diagnosis of the diseases are all matters or issues of medical negligence. Therefore, the said issues cannot be adjudicated by the Commission. There was no sufficient material on record to hold, that delay, if any, was caused only because of the clinical establishment and not from the side of the patient party. Furthermore, there is no material to show how the patient party was misguided by the clinical establishment,” the Division Bench of Justice Arijit Banerjee and Justice Apurba Sinha Ray held.

A bereaved son had lodged a complaint before the West Bengal Clinical Establishment Regulatory Commission through email on May 12, 2017 alleging untimely death of his mother due to negligence and delay in shifting the patients from the hospital.

Based on the complaint, the Commission took steps and after hearing the service provider BM Birla Heart Research Centre (BMBHRC) as well as considering the reports from Medical Council of India, West Bengal State Medical Council and other materials, came to the conclusion that though the Commission refrained from dealing with the alleged medical negligence party, it found serious lack and deficiency in patient care service from the BMBHRC side. It directed the institute to pay a compensation of Rs 20 lakh to the bereaved family. The BMBHRC had challenged the Commission’s order before a Single Bench of Calcutta High Court, which dismissed the writ application and held that the conclusion arrived at by the Commission was “correct and justified.”

Dissatisfied with the order, the BMBHRC approached the Division Bench alleging that the Single Judge did not consider the case of the petitioner as well as the materials on record properly and thereby came to a wrong finding.

However, the Division Bench made it clear that the complainant is at liberty to agitate on all the issues regarding the medical negligence and deficient patient care service before the appropriate forum under the National Medical Commission Act.

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