Case Briefs (Medical Negligence): John Oni Akerele v. The King | State of Chhattisgarh v. Gajendra Singh | Suraj Mal Chhajer v. State | Jasbir Kaur v. State of Punjab | Ram Bihari Lal v. Dr. J.N. Srivatsava

PROMINENT CASES OF MEDICAL NEGLIGENCE


1. John Oni Akerele v. The King[6]

Facts:
A professionally trained and well skilled medical doctor gave an injection of Sobita as recorded in the British Pharmaceuticals, but due to the overdose prescribed by the doctor, the patient died as later administered by the medical team. An action against the doctor for the negligence was brought to the Privy Council.

Court: 
Privy Council

Observation: 
The court observed the following,                   
                                                                       
(A) Unless the negligence went beyond the mere matter of compensation between the parties, the doctor cannot be held criminally responsible for the occurring circumstances.

(B)  There is a difference between the negligence in terms of criminal and compensation aspects.

(C)  It would be fatal to the efficiency of the medical profession if anyone isn’t allowed to administer medicine without a halter round the neck.

Held:  
The doctor was held guilty as the degree of care he was supposed to take didn’t happen.



2. State of Chhattisgarh v. Gajendra Singh[8]

Facts: 
Meenakshi Devi, diseased suffering from tuberculosis was admitted to a health camp at Primary Health Centre at Lailunga (Raigarh), due to the cumulative reaction of injections administered to her, an act of negligence from the part of the doctors, she died. A suit is filed in the Chhattisgarh HC.

Court:
Chattisgarh HC 

Observation: 
The court observed that it was the duty of the doctors to check the repercussions as well as the possibilities of not taking the precaution and following the procedure to the very beginning of the operation. As all the required information was already provided to the medical team, they should have known the effect of the injections can cause greater harm to the patients.

Held:
The doctors were found guilty and the court awarded the compensation of 180000/-(one lakh, eighty thousand rupees).


3. Suraj Mal Chhajer v. State[9]

Facts:
The petitioner’s daughter named DR Veena Chhajer, aged 25 years, was a resident doctor in a govt. Hospital at the state Jodhpur. While performing her medical duties, she contracted Hepatitis -B, which later resulted in her death.

Court: 
Rajasthan HC

Observation:
The court later observed and examined the reports made by the inquiry committee as she was contracted with the hepatitis-B and due to lack of medical equipment like a glove, syringes, needles, etc. was the result of the circumstances but she wasn’t able to take these preventive measures due to the lack of availability of these medical essentials.

Held:
The court directed the compensation of five lakh rupees to the plaintiff.



4. Jasbir Kaur v. State of Punjab[10]

Facts:
A newly born child went missing on the night of the endings in the month of June, from the bed in the Govt. run, Shri Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, situated at Amritsar. After a few days, a baby was found in an extremely profuse manner[11], near the washbasin of the bathroom. The mother and the family members contented the replacement of such an act where the hospital authorities answered that the child was taken away by a cat who caused damage to him.

Court: 
Punjab HC

Observation:
Post operational procedures were not properly taken, a shameless act of humanity was witnessed and the life of an infant was brutally taken away because of the unjustifiable carelessness and negligence from the side of the staffs and the authorities of this hospital.

Held:
Compensation of one lakh rupees was given to the plaintiff.



5. Ram Bihari Lal v. Dr. J.N. Srivatsava[12]

Facts:
The plaintiff was a collector in the area of Shahdol. His wife, Kanyidevi, aged 32 years, got severe abdominal pain on the night of September 27, 1958. The defendant being the doctor, started her treatment.
She was put under medical surveillance and was dosed with chloroform anaesthesia upon incision the appendix was found to be normal and not at all inflamed. The defendant then later made another incision and removed the gall-bladder without the consent of her husband i.e. plaintiff, although he was waiting outside the operation theatre in the hospital. The liver and the kidney were already damaged and were further damaged due to the anaesthesia, and as a consequence, the patient died on the third day of its operation.

Observation:
It was observed that the operation was performed in the hospital which wasn’t even having the basic medicinal facilities like oxygen and blood transfusion and without carrying the necessary investigators like urine test, blood tests etc. which are necessary for the operations. Without the consent of the husband and the patient, the gall bladder was removed.
This wasn’t just a case of medical negligence but the case of cruel and blood full intentions.

Held:
The patient died to the medical negligence and criminal conduct by the surgeon and thus found guilty and terminated the license.



References:


[6] AIR 1943 PC 72.
[8] AIR 2015 Chh.132.
[9] AIR 1999
[10] AIR 1995 P. & H.278.
[11] Bleeding condition with one eye totally gouged out with the eyeball.
[12] AIR 1985 MP 150 (D, B.).

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