Dharwad: The Dharwad District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has ordered a Dharwad-based obstetrician and gynaecologist to pay a complainant Rs 11.10 lakh as compensation for not informing him about the disability of his child during the prenatal scans while his wife was pregnant.
Preeti, wife of Parashuram Ghatage and a resident of Srinagar Bhavikatti Plot, went for pregnancy-related consultation and treatment from obstetrician Dr. Saubhagya Kulkarni at Prashant Nursing Home in Malamaddi, Dharwad, from the 3rd to the 9th month of her pregnancy.
The obstetricians had scanned Preeti five times from July 12, 2018 to January 8, 2019. The doctor told them that the development of the baby in the womb is good and the baby is healthy. When the complainant’s wife went for a checkup with the same doctor in her 9th month, she was advised to have a cesarean delivery. But due to financial difficulties, the complainant took his wife to the Dharwad SDM hospital for delivery, and a girl child was born with two crippled legs.
The complainant had filed a complaint with the Dharwad District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, seeking action as, according to the Supreme Court’s rulings and according to the regulations for the ultrasound scan, the doctor who checked the child’s health and its organs would know whether the baby’s health and organs are healthy or not during the scanning of 18–20 weeks of pregnancy.
But from July 12, 2018 to January 8, 2019, 20 to 36 weeks of Mrs. Preeti’s scanning were taken by the obstetrician, who knew about the child’s disability but did not inform the complainant about it, cheated, and committed medical negligence.
The Doctor was Aware of the Baby’s Organs Health
The commission chairperson, Ishappa Bhute, and members Vishalakshi Bolashetti and Prabhu Hiremath, an obstetrician who conducted a thorough inquiry into the said complaint, took all the scan reports of the complainant’s wife and, when they checked, learned about the disability of the baby in the womb.
According to the MTP Act, if the doctor was aware of the disability of the baby at 20 weeks of pregnancy and had brought that fact to the attention of the complainant, he would have taken a decision as to whether or not to retain the disabled child in the womb as per law. But the commission opined in its judgment that it is apparent that the expert doctor, who is a specialist doctor, was grossly negligent in his medical duty by not informing the complainant about the significant fact of the child’s disability. According to the judgments of the Supreme Court and the National Consumer Commission, the District Consumer Commission has given its order that such conduct by the doctor constitutes a service deficiency under the Consumer Protection Act.
The commission has ordered the doctor to pay Rs. 50,000 for the medical expenses of the girl child so far, Rs. 50,000 for the travel and expenses of the complainant, Rs. 2 lakh for the mental pain caused to the parents of the disabled child, Rs. 3,00,000 for the future medical expenses of the disabled girl child, Rs. 5,00,000 for the future maintenance of the said disabled girl child, and the expenses of this case, Rs. 10,000, for a total of Rs. 11.10 lakh in compensation to be given to the complainant within one month of this judgment. The commission has also ordered the doctor to pay interest at the rate of 8 percent on the said amount.
The commission directed that Rs. 8,00,000 out of the said compensation of Rs. 11.10 lakhs should be kept as a permanent deposit in the name of the minor disabled girl child in a nationalized bank of the complainant’s choice till she becomes an adult, and the entire amount of the compensation should be spent for the future of the disabled girl child.
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