The Indian Supreme Court has asked a south Indian hospital to go for out of court settlement with the victim of a botched up surgery.
Prasanth S. Dhananka from Hyderabad, capital of Andhra Pradesh, appeared in the court in a wheelchair and argued his case seeking compensation of Rs. 7 crore against Rs. 15.5 lakh awarded by the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission.
His treatment at the Nizam's Institute of Medical Sciences, Hyderabad, had left him a paraplegic, permanently bound to his wheelchair.
He had gone to the hospital in September 1990 for a check-up as he was falling sick on and off for a year or so.
On examination, it was noticed that he had a large mass in his left hemithorax (chest cavity). A surgery was performed and the tumour was removed.
But post-surgery, he became a paraplegic paralysis of the lower limbs of the body. He moved the Commission seeking a compensation of Rs. 5.83 crore, but it awarded only Rs. 15.5 lakh. While the hospital filed an appeal in the Supreme Court for quashing the findings, the complainant sought an enhancement of the compensation.
The hospital contended that the Commission had erroneously held that it was negligent in not performing its statutory duties to interact and exchange opinion with sister-institutes in India and abroad and also failed to seek the assistance of a neurosurgeon.
But Dhananka contended that the tumour was a neurogenic one and hence only a neurosurgeon should have handled his case, but was not. The ill-planned surgery violently disturbed the nervous system, leaving him a paraplegic. The compensation awarded was grossly inadequate, he said and sought Rs. 7 crore.
After listening to him, a division bench consisting of Justices B.N. Agrawal and G.S. Singhvi said, "The Director of the Institute, along with the State Health Secretary and the complainant or his father, shall explore the possibility of a settlement."
While the complainant insisted on payment of Rs. 7 crore including interest, the counsel for the hospital agreed to go for an out-of-court settlement, provided the Commission's observation of negligence against the hospital was removed.
The Bench then posted the matter to July 22.