Twelve years after a two-year-old girl became a victim of medical negligence, the Supreme Court has awarded Rs 20 lakh as compensation saying that it would be the just and reasonable order to meet the problems being faced by her as well as future troubles.
The apex court declined to interfere with the decision of the Karnataka State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission whose findings were upheld by the National Commission.
"We do not find any reason to differ with the finding that it was only because of the negligence on the part of the hospital the two years old child developed gangrene resulting into amputation of her right arm," a bench comprising justices M Y Eqbal and Arun Mishra said.
"However, taking into consideration the sufferings of the girl child, who is now 13 years of age, in our opinion the compensation awarded by the State Commission is in a lower side.
"Counsel appearing for the complainant submitted that every year she has to incur battery charges for the artificial limb, which costs Rs 80,000 annually. There cannot be any dispute that the girl will have to suffer throughout her life and has to live with artificial limb. Not only she would have to face difficulty in her education but would have also to face problem in getting herself married," the bench said.
It enhanced the compensation of Rs five lakh awarded by the state commission to Rs 20 lakh by allowing the appeal of the parents of the victim.
"Although the sufferings, agony and pain, which the girl child will carry cannot be compensated in terms of money, but, in our view, a compensation of Rs 20 lakhs will be just and reasonable in order to meet the problems being faced by her and also to meet future troubles that will arise in her life," the bench said while directing the hospital to pay the amount in six weeks.
The girl, who was admitted to a hospital in Bangalore in August 2002 for treatment of cold, cough and pneumonia was administered intravenous fluid but the needle was wrongly inserted into artery instead of vein due to which the blood supply to the fore arm was blocked and she developed gangrene resulting in amputation of her right arm.
Her parents had moved the state commission seeking Rs one crore compensation from Manipal Hospital, where the girl was treated.
The bench dismissed the appeal filed by the hospital against the award of the consumer commission.