Pay Rs 7 lakh to Anupama's family, Consumer Commission tells PGI

Observing that the "precious life" of Anupama, 17, could have been saved if doctors had not shown "carelessness in her treatment", the Consumer Commission on Tuesday indicted PGI for "negligence". The hospital was directed to pay a compensation of Rs 7.25 lakh to the kin of the deceased.

Also, the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking was held guilty of "deficiency in service" and was ordered to pay Rs 3 lakh as compensation to the family.

"The precious life of the only daughter of the complainants could have been saved, if the doctors of PGI had not shown carelessness in her treatment," read the order passed by the Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Chandigarh.

However, Anupama's father Amit Sarkar said: "No monetary amount can compensate my child's life. However, we are satisfied with the commission's decision of holding the PGI responsible for my daughter's death."

Anupama's mother Konika said, "I have lost my only child due to the negligence of the institute. We had faith in the premier institute and hoped that she would be treated well by the doctors. Much to our regret, we were proved wrong. The doctors ignored her completely and delayed the operation, which claimed her life."

Recalling the days at PGI, she said, "For three days my daughter was not allowed to eat or drink anything on the pretext that doctors had to operate upon her. They did not even change her dressing. They were completely unprofessional in their approach. They never bothered to clean the wound before changing the bandage. My repeated requests failed to move them."

On July 17 last year, Anupama's leg was crushed under a CTU bus. She was referred to PGI where it was decided that she would have to be operated upon with immediate effect. However, the operation was delayed for days. Reason: doctors had other "serious" patients to attend to. On July 19, she was taken to the operation theatre, but surgery was not done. The next day, infection spread to her body. She was diagnosed with gas gangrene and her leg was amputated. She was declared critical and put on ventilator, and on July 24, she died.

The commission, headed by Justice (retd) Sham Sunder, said, "We find force in the submissions of the complainants that it is a clear case of 'res ipsa loquitur' (the things speak themselves). Thus we hold that the death of Anumpama took place due to per se negligence of the treating doctors of PGI, by not treating the patient with due care and skill."

The order read, "Had the concerned doctors exercised due care and skill they would have followed the requisite protocol by performing the operation on the crushed leg of the patient on the very day of her admission, as a result whereof, development of gangrene and septicemia would have been avoided and her life would have been saved."

PGI will have to pay the compensation within 45 days from the date of receipt of a certified copy of the order, failing which they will be liable to pay Rs 7 lakh along with interest at the rate of 12% per annum to the complainants from the date of filing the complaint, which is August 14, till its realisation, besides the payment of costs of litigation.

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