The Delhi State Consumer Redressal Commission has imposed a cost of Rs 30 lakh on a private hospital for its deficient service in a case in which a woman was left with a needle in her uterus after delivery.
The Commission, while dismissing the appeal of Shree Jeewan Hospital in north Delhi, upheld the district forum's order asking the hospital to pay the compensation to north-east Delhi resident Rubina.
It also noted that instead of employing a qualified doctor, the hospital got its job done by a pharmacist.
"Instead of employing a qualified doctor who draws a salary of around Rs two lakhs, the hospital is getting the job done by a pharmacist. How many such episiotomy wounds have been stitched by ... (pharmacist) is anybody's guess," the bench headed by member N P Kaushik said.
"The appeal preferred by the hospital is dismissed. The hospital is burdened with costs of Rs 30 lakh for being 'negligent' and 'deficient in service'. The said costs shall be deposited by the hospital in Consumer Welfare Fund of the State maintained by this Commission," it said.
It also noted that there was an attempt by hospital to manipulate the records to cover up the fact that the delivery was effected by a doctor who was not competent to do the surgery.
"Hospital has gone to the extent of manipulating the records to make believe that it was a doctor and nurse who conducted the delivery," the bench said.
According to the complaint, Rubina was admitted to the hospital on September 15, 2009 for delivery and she gave birth to a girl child.
The plea alleged that while conducting the delivery, the doctors left a needle in her uterus due to which she was bleeding profusely and suffered pain and trauma but the doctors did not pay heed to her problem.
After an X-ray was conducted, the needle was removed from the uterus in the same hospital, it said.
It also said when the woman underwent an ultrasound in November 2009, it was revealed that her uterus had retroflexed and she would not be able to conceive again. She then filed a complaint against the hospital before the police and consumer forum.
The hospital, which denied negligence, admitted the presence of needle in the woman's uterus. However, the Delhi Medical Council had opined that there is no case of medical negligence. The district forum had asked the hospital to pay the compensation to Rubina, which was challenged by it in the state commission.