Supreme court imposes penalty on doctor

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New Delhi, Jan 16 (UNI) The Supreme Court today imposed a penalty of Rs 25000 on a doctor after finding her guilty of removing the uterus of a 44 year-old-woman, without her consent way back in 1995.

A bench comprising justice B N Agarwal, P B Naolekar and Justice R V Raveendran also imposed a fine of Rs 5000 on erring doctor Prabha Manchanda and ordered her to refund the fees charged by her with interest for removing the uterus of Samira Kohli on May 15, 1995.

The apex court in its 67 page judgemnt relying on the expert opininon of Dr Salhan, Professor and head of the Dept (obstetrics and gynaecology) and president of association of obstetricians and gynacologist of Delhi, found Dr Prabha guilty of acting in excess of consent but in good faith and for the benefit of the appellant Samira.

Justice Raveendran writing the judgment for the bench noted ''In view of our finding that there was no consent by the appellant for perfporming hysterectomy and salpingo-oopherectomy, performance of such a surgery was an unauthoriased invasion and intereference with the appellants body which amounted to tortous act of assault and therefore a deficiency in service.

But as noticed above, there are several mitigating circumstances.

The respondent did it in the interest of the appellant. As the appellant was already 44 years old and was having serious menstrual problem, the respondent thought that by surgical removal of uterus and ovaries she was providing permanent relief.

This is a case of respondent acting in excess of consent but in good faith and for the benefit of the appellant.'' The apex court ruled that ''On the facts and circumstances, we consider that interest of justice would be served if the respondent is denied the entire fee charge for the surgery and in addition directed to pay Rs 25000 as compensation for the unauthorised AH-BSO surgery to the appellant.

The respondent shall pay to the appellant a sum of Rs 25000 as compensation with interest thereon at the rate of ten per cent per anum from November 19, 2003 (the date of the order of comission) till date of payment. The appellant will also be entitled to cost of Rs 5000 from the respondent.'' Samera Kolhi had claimed a compensation of Rs 25 lakhs but her complaint was dismissed by National Consumer Disputes Redressal Comission on November 19, 2003.

Dr Manchanda had demanded a bill of Rs 39,325 for professional services. According to the complianant the radical surgery performed by the doctor on her was unlawful, unauthorised and unwarranted and that on account of the removal of her reproductive organs she had been denied forever a opportunity of becoming a mother.

UNI AKS/SC NC RS2208

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