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--------------- Print Magazine --------------
  May 2016
  April 2016
CASE STUDY - by Anoop K. Kaushal

Evidentiary value of Departmental Enquiry

Against Government Doctor

Dr. Anil Jain v. Devendra Kumar

Revision Petition No. 1691 of 2012 pronounced on 10 th October, 2012 by the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, New Delhi.

Facts: Urmila Rani, since deceased, wife of the complainant was admitted in civil hospital, Ambala City on 13-6-2006 at about 2.10 p.m. with the complaint of pain in her abdomen and umbilical hernia. Dr. Anil Jain examined her and informed the brother-in-law of the complainant, who had accompanied her to the hospital, that operation was to be performed. Dr. Anil Jain demanded a sum of ` 3,000 from Subhash Chandra Bansal, who gave him a sum of ` 2,000 only and promised to pay residue amount after the operation. It is alleged that instead of conducting the operation, Dr. Anil Jain demanded the remaining amount. Urmila Rani was operated on 15-6-2006. It is alleged that at the time of operation, the complainant was not present and his signatures were fabricated by Dr. Anil Jain showing the consent of the complainant. Immediately after the operation, the complainant's wife died on 16-6-2006. The complainant made a request for conducting autopsy on the body of his wife but the doctor did not pay any heed to his request. Consequently, the complaint was filed before the District Forum which was dismissed. The State Commission accepted the appeal and directed the opposite parties i.e. Dr. Anil Jain, Civil Surgeon, Medical Officer, opposite party No. 2, Civil Surgeon, opposite party No. 3 and United India Insurance Co. Ltd., opposite party No. 4, jointly and severally, to pay damages to the tune of ` 2 lakh as compensation and ` 50,000 as compensation for mental agony, harassment, physical pain and suffering.

Defence Version: The opposite parties contended that the patient was properly examined by Dr. Anil Jain and her condition was normal till the evening of 13-6-2006. The patient was operated under general anaesthesia, the hernial sac contained adherent omentum, gut was normal and there was no intra-abdominal collection. The operation was a major surgery and was completed successfully and the patient was shifted to female surgical ward in stable condition after surgery. Nasogastric tube was put to avoid any undue pressure on repaired portion of hernia defect. The patient was being looked after by her brother, Raj Kumar who was working as a ward servant in this hospital and was doing his duty. The doctor was insured with the opposite party No. 4 during the period the patient-wife of the complainant was treated by opposite party No. 2. The opposite party No. 4 had issued professional indemnity insurance policy effective from 1-11-2005 to 31-10-2006 to opposite party No. 2. There was no medical negligence on the part of the petitioner.

Evidence : The State of Haryana through Collector, Ambala, Haryana in its written statement had mentioned that there were two preliminary enquiry reports in this case. The first inquiry was conducted by Dr. Vinod Gupta, M.S. (General Surgery), SMO, Ambala. He also required Dr. Anil Jain to record the statement but he did not appear to make a statement before the above said inquiry commission. Thereafter, the inquiry was conducted by Dr. O. P. Arya, who recorded the statement of Dr. Anil Jain. The conclusion of the inquiry report was:

"In my opinion after going through the statements and record no staff nurse was found guilty while performing the duty and Dr. Anil Jain had done the following negligencies in managing and treating the case:

1. He has unnecessarily delayed the surgical intervention which was mandatory in a case of 'OBSTRUCTED HERNIA'. The early operation could have saved the life of Urmila.

2. He overlooked the possibility of Electrolyte imbalance in the management of such a serious patient who was being given 'Nil' orally and was on continuous Ryle's Tube Aspiration and I/V fluids in pre-operative, operative and post- operative period. After going through the whole indoor records the Electrolyte imbalance was the strongest possibility causing death in the case. And also in post-operative period no ultrasound abdomen was advised to detect any intra-abdominal bleeding or other post-operative complication.

3. Integrity of Dr. Anil Jain's conduct regarding honesty is doubtful as the complainant has submitted the affidavit in which he has stated that Dr. Anil Jain allegedly demanded ` 3000 for operation and out of ` 3000 he had given ` 2000 to Dr. Anil Jain on 13-6-2006.

4. Dr. Anil Jain also showed official indiscipline by appearing not even a single time when he was called for a number of times i.e. 8-12-2006, 4-1-2007 and 13-2-2007. Neither he has appeared nor he was intimated to me even for a single time. Every time he was served letters properly but never turned up."

Held : This report speaks volumes of negligence against Dr. Anil Jain. He should have cooperated with the inquiry but he did not appear before the Commission. He chose to bury his head under the sand for the reasons best known to him. The petitioner has failed to produce any evidence in rebuttal to the above said report. The petitioner has alleged that Dr. Gupta was having bad blood with him but no such evidence saw the light of the day. A mere allegation does not make the case solid and unflappable. There is no evidence that Dr. O.P. Arya gave the report in favour of Dr. Anil Jain. Res Ipsa Loquitur (the thing speaks for itself) is one form of circumstantial evidence that permits a reasonable person to surmise that the most probable cause of an accident was the OP's negligence. The delay and stubborn attitude adopted by the petitioner discloses the whole story. The thinking that the Insurance Company will ultimately pay the compensation casts a film of doubt over doctor's bona fides . The Apex Court in Kishan Rao v. Nikhil Super Speciality Hospital & Another, (SC) 2010 (2) RCR (Civil) 929 has held that 'Medical Negligence Claim of petitioner cannot be rejected only on the ground that expert witness was not examined to prove negligence of Doctor. It is not required to have expert evidence in all cases of Medical negligence.'

Revision Petition Dismissed.

(Print Version)
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