Guidelines for hospitals on additional procedures

Motherhood is a very important stage in the life of a lady, and anything that could harm the prospect of motherhood needs to be considered very carefully. Additionally, in a sign that the Supreme Court was aware of the prospect of private hospitals and nursing homes trying to earn more money by conducting additional medical operations on patients (while the patient was on the operation theatre and only relatives had given permission), the Court had asked the medical institutions to take consent from the patient before conducting additional medical procedures (except in cases of urgency or life/death situations). Tying these 2 together, a patient whose ovaries were removed during a medical procedure by a doctor at a private hospital based on consent by relatives, has sought enhanced damages (she was awarded Rs. 25,000 earlier – clearly seems to be inadequate compensation):

In the landmark verdict on January 16, the SC had chastised private hospitals and nursing homes for inflating bills by conducting additional procedures on patients by taking consent from the relatives while he was on the operation table.

The ovaries of the victim, Samira Kohli, were removed in 1995 during a diagnostic procedure at a private hospital by one Dr Prabha Manchanda on the basis of consent taken from her relatives. She had proceeded against the doctor demanding a compensation of Rs 25 lakh on the charge that she was deprived of motherhood. Though Kohli welcomed the guidelines issued by apex court for doctors on the issue of consent of the patient before conducting any operation, she felt that the compensation of Rs 25,000 awarded by the apex court was woefully inadequate.

This is indeed a very serious case, and one feels that the compensation of Rs. 25,000 was inadequate, that too for an operation which has such serious consequences for the lady in question. Given the strictures of the court, it seems apparent that the case did not involve any element of urgent life/death question; as for consent by relatives, they can be easily influenced by the doctor given that they may be in some emotional distress at that point of time.

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