In India medical profession is considered as one of the honourable and noble professions, but it also has its own flaws that’s why medical negligence is considered as one of the most crucial concerns of our country because of the negligent, improper or unskilled treatment of a patient by a professional includes nurse, physician, dentist, surgeon and other healthcare workers.
Supreme Court is defining medical negligence in Kusum Sharma & Ors. v. Batra Hospital & Medical Research Centre and Ors, referred to Halsbury’s Laws of England where it is defined as “Duties owed to patient. A person who holds himself out as ready to give medical advice or treatment impliedly undertakes that he is possessed of skill and knowledge for the purpose. Such a person, whether he is a registered medical practitioner or not, who is consulted by a patient, owes him certain duties, namely, a duty of care in deciding whether to undertake the case; a duty of care in deciding what treatment to give; and a duty of care in his administration of that treatment. A breach of any of these duties will support an action for negligence by the patient”. From the judgement it is clear that there are three major components of medical negligence are the existence of a duty, breach of duty and damage caused by such breach. There is various kind of situations that amount to medical negligence such as incorrect diagnosis, inaccurate surgery, long term negligent treatment etc.
If the patient has suffered an injury during his treatment the doctors are not always liable sometimes decisions of the doctor is not turned out to be favourable he should not be held liable. The court in different cases observed that merely because the doctor has chosen a different procedure to cure the problem and doesn’t get the desired result that doesn’t mean he is negligent. In Vinod Jain vs. Santokba Durlabhji Memorial Hospital and Ors., Supreme Court held that the test for negligence should be done with the view of a doctor who is competent and possess an ordinary skill as a doctor.
Breach of duty arises when the doctor doesn’t take the essential steps at a time and proper treatment is not provided to the patient. In Dr. Laxman Balkrishna Joshi Vs. Dr. Trimbak Bapu Godbole, Supreme Court says that every medical practitioner must exercise a reasonable “standard of care” that are set out in a profession and breach of it will hold him liable. So, the hospital shall be held liable for negligence against patients where they have not taken the proper standard of care.
In some cases, the court used the principle of “ipsa loqitur” which means that the things speak for themselves which means that the doctor has acted beneath the set standards. Using this it is presumed that injury is caused by the negligence of the doctor here the burden of proof shifts on the doctor to prove the case otherwise.
A person suffering from any medical problem went to the doctor only with the hope that he will get the possible treatment for his illness but sometimes there are situations when treatment doesn’t go the way it was planned, not every time this is caused because of the doctor’s fault sometimes they didn’t get the result they are expecting after doing everything he could and every time if we start pushing the doctor to the court they may start thinking of their security before patients security but if the doctor is being negligent in not even providing basic standards than he must be punished.
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