News Brief

Consumer panel fines Max Hospital Rs 30 lakh for negligence while delivering a baby in 2007

The parents had alleged ‘crude and violent pulling’ of the baby caused him a permanent disability in the left arm.

The Delhi State Consumer Commission has asked a Max Hospital branch in the Capital’s Pitampura area to pay Rs 30 lakh to a couple as compensation for negligence, PTI reported on Wednesday. The couple had alleged “crude and violent pulling” of their baby during delivery had caused the child a permanent disability in the left arm. The child is now 10 years old.

The commission ordered the hospital to pay Rs 20 lakh to the parents and their son for the suffering, mental pain and agony they have faced. It also ordered the hospital to pay Rs 5 lakh to the mother for expenses from delivery till the child’s check-up at a hospital in Mumbai, and another Rs 5 lakh as litigation cost.

The consumer panel said the penalty will send a message that it was time hospitals start bringing about a “qualitative change” in their attitudes and provide “service to human beings as human beings”.

“Human touch is necessary; that is their code of conduct; that is their duty and that is what is required to be implemented,” the bench of panel members OP Gupta and Anil Srivastava said.

The panel said the hospital did not take proper care during the delivery, and that this led to shoulder dystocia – when the baby’s head passes through the birth canal, but the shoulders get stuck.

The child was born on June 5, 2007. While doctors said the child was born without any complications, the parents claimed they discovered a problem with the child’s left arm. The parents said they consulted several other doctors, all of whom said the damage could not be rectified. The parents gave the panel reports from other diagnostic centres and hospitals as part of their complaint.

Max Healthcare, however, has maintained that the hospital took all precautions during delivery and that shoulder dystocia is a rare complication, but a baby can develop it during birth, The Times of India reported.

“We reiterate that we have taken utmost care in the delivery of the baby,” the hospital told the newspaper in an email. “We will appeal against the ruling in the National Commission.”

The hospital chain was in the news in 2017 after alleged negligence caused the death of a baby at its Shalimar Bagh branch in November. Doctors had declared that a boy and his twin sister were stillborn, but when the parents were on their way to a crematorium they found the boy was still alive. The baby died a few days later.

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