Citizens' Issues
National Consumer forum hauls up Nizam Institute for lapses in medical services

According to NCDRC ruling, Hyderabad-based NIMS and two of its doctors showed deficiency in medical service leading to death of a patient in 2000

National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) has hauled up Hyderabad-based Nizam's Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS) and two of its doctors for lapses in medical services leading to a patient’s death and directed them to pay Rs3 lakh to the victim’s family as compensation.

The victim, Vinayaka Rao, died on 16th December 2000 after he fell down in bathroom a day ago, while he was under going a treatment for acute leukaemia at NIMS. His wife N Shree Mani, along with her three children filed a case in State Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission of Andhra Pradesh against NIMS alleging the hospital and two of its doctor did not provide timely treatment to Mr Rao.

According to the petition Mr Rao was suffering from acute leukaemia. He was consulted at NIMS on 27 November 2000, where the Acute Myeloid Leukaemia was diagnosed and same day he was admitted in the hospital for treatment. On 15th December, the patient developed high fever and was prescribed medicines after check up by a doctor. After few hours, Mr Rao fell in the bathroom but there was no doctor  available at that time to treat him. According to Mrs Shree Mani, the same doctor was reached over phone, who then advised to give another tablet to Mr Rao.

Mrs Mani says that when the patient fells down, a CT scan was required as he was suffering from high fever, hence it “shows lack of reasonable and timely care.”
Defending that there was not any deviation of medical practice in treating the patient, NIMS said, “It is not uncommon for patients to remain in excellent health and suddenly deteriorate while on chemotherapy. As for sudden high fever on 15 December 2000, NIMS stated that, “The spike in fever was due to neutropenic fever. It is not a reflection of the platelet count or hemoglobin.”

Considering medical literatures showing that infection and hemorrhage are primary causes of death in patients with leukemia and fever is sensitive but non-specific sign of infection in neutropenic patients, the Andhra Pradesh Consumer Forum ruled out the case of medical negligence.  

Mrs Mani challenged the decision of state commission and appealed to the NCDRC. As she could not obtain a report from an independent medical expert, the NCDRC sent all the details of the treatment given to Mr Rao to All India Institute of Medical Science (AIMS), New Delhi for assessment.

The committee of AIIMS, in its assessment on the fall of the patient in the bathroom, stated that, “It has been established from the record that the patient had a fall on the 15th day of his treatment, but the details of the fall, injury sustained if any, clinical condition post fall and CT scan are not available. There is a mention of altered sensoriumon on 16th day that may be a part of Intra Cranial event (which may be a neurological manifestation) or Neutropenic shock because of infection.”

The victim’s wife personally argued that there was no treatment record for 15th December 200. The next entry was made on 16th December. The NCDRC said, “This explains why AIIMS have observed in their report that no record of clinical condition of the patient from the afternoon of 15th December till the morning of 16th December is available”

The Commission also noted that “the observation of the expert committee that in the absence of record of the clinical condition of the patient from 15th December afternoon to 16th morning, they (AIIMS) were not in a position to comment whether there was medical negligence or not.”

Considering the observations of the AIIMS expert committee and the records of treatment on 15th December where the hospital decided not to discharge the patient, NCRDC stated that NIMS committed two serious lapses. “While the condition of the patient warranted assessment of the effect of fall in the bathroom (whether by CT scan or any other investigation) it was not done,” the Commission noted.

In its final order, the NCRDC said, “What compounds these two lapses is that the patient was running high temperature. In fact, it was serious enough for the NIMS and the doctors to postpone his discharge fixed for 15 December 2000. Secondly, as per their own evidence, NIMS knew that sudden deterioration in the condition of the patient was a strong possibility. Thirdly, the doctor knew about high fever and had been telephonically informed about the fall. In our considered view, these lapses amount to deficiency of service, within the meaning of Section 2(1) (g) of the Consumer Protection Act 1986.”

The Commission ordered that the allegation of deficiency of service is upheld and lump sum compensation of Rs3 lakh should be given to Mr Rao’s widow and his children, with an interest at 7% from the date of the complaint, within a period of three months.


CIC’s order fails to yield any results from DoPT even after 8 months

The RTI activist was told about a stay from the High Court after eight months of his appeal being withheld

The government has attempted to stonewall the Right to Information (RTI) Act yet again. Surprisingly, the RTI activist, who had filed an application, has been informed that the authorities will not disclose information he sought, almost eight months after the Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) ruled in his favour. Moreover, the CIC has informed him that the government authorities have obtained a High Court stay on disclosure of information, but the mail he received does not contain copy of the stay order.

RTI activist, Subhash Chandra Agrawal, said, “The CIC issued an order on 29th March, which said that I will be provided all the information within 10 days. Nothing happened for long, and just a couple of days ago, I was told that a stay has been obtained on disclosure. But the documents that I received do not contain any stay order, there is only the copy of the writ petition asking for the stay.”

Mr Agrawal has approached the CIC for taking up the matter with the public authorities; namely, Union Cabinet secretariat and Department of Personnel & Training (DoPT). He said, “The CIC, on 29th October directed that all information be provided within 10 days. But so far none of the public authorities have cared to provide the information sought.”

Seeking information regarding transfer of Bhupider Prasad, secretary to department of justice and posting of Neela Gangadharan in the same position back in April 2010, Mr Agrawal fined an RTI application. While the public information officer (PIO) provided some information, he refused to disclose file notings and correspondence notes. Mr Agrawal filed appeals, where, the CPIO reiterated that such information is exempted from the purview of the RTI Act.

Finally, the CIC Satyananda Mishra quashed the CPIO’s claims of exemption, and ordered that all information be provided within 10 days. The hearing took place on 29 March 2011; but the public authorities concerned, namely the DoPT and the Union Cabinet secretariat made no attempt to provide any information.

“Whenever I called the departments, they would say that they were ‘thinking’ of approaching the Delhi High Court for a stay. But then, the authorities must approach the court within 30 days of the order being issued,” Mr Agrawal said.

He then approached the CIC again, asking for taking the matter up with the public authorities. However, three days ago, he received a reply from the CIC, which said that a stay has been obtained against its order.

The documents, Mr Agrawal received, however, do not contain copy of the stay order. There is a copy of the writ petition that the DoPT had filed in the Delhi High Court on 18 August, 2011 asking for a stay. It pleaded that the ‘impugned judgment (of the CIC) is erroneous, illegal and contrary to the intent and purposes of RTI Act.’

It said that Cabinet papers are exempt from disclosure, and that the public authorities are ‘not under obligation’ to disclose information that fall under the exemptions listed from Section 8(a) to 8(j) of RTI Act.

Mr Agrawal said, “I have an appointment with the CIC shortly, and I will ask them about this. I would like to see the stay order too. I feel that there is no reason for not giving the information.”




6 years ago

It is government authorities which riggle the law but require others to stick to it and implement. WHY DoPT is afraid of providing the information such cases prompt other authorities also to sit on the orders of CIC and CIC also scums to its illegal demands.

Maintenance work at Kudunkulam plant on: Govt

Minister of state in the Prime Minister’s Office V Narayanasamy said the work on the first reactor was over but its commissioning slated for next month had been delayed by ‘some months’ due to the agitation by the locals, who are demanding the scrapping of the project raising safety concerns

Chennai: Construction work at the controversial Kudunkulam nuclear power plant has been stopped but essential maintenance activities are underway, reports PTI quoting minister of state in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) V Narayanasamy.

He said the work on the first reactor was over but its commissioning slated for next month had been delayed by ‘some months’ due to the agitation by the locals, who are demanding the scrapping of the project raising safety concerns.

“Construction work at the plant has been stopped... but since maintenance work is important, our scientists and engineers are taking up the work. We have told the chief minister (Jayalalithaa) that maintenance work should be done and she has also accepted it,” he told reporters here.

Mr Narayanasamy said the Centre had accepted the Tamil Nadu Cabinet resolution and stopped the construction work besides setting up an experts committee to allay the fears of locals.

He said the committees set by the Centre as well as by the state government discussed various issues in their first meeting held in Thirunelveli earlier this week and replies to the questionnaires given by the representatives of the agitators were being prepared.

“The committee representatives are educating the people.

They will remove their fears... The talks between the two are going on very smoothly and I hope that in the next meeting all the issues will be resolved... There is every possibility of commissioning the plant in near future,” he said.

Mr Narayansamy, who was deputed by the prime minister at the height of the first phase agitation in September to pacify them, said there had been a marked change in the attitude of the people of the state, especially from Kudunkulam and were now supporting the plant.

“Some news channels who did surveys also found that the majority of the people are in favour of commissioning of the plant. I am sure that the agitating groups will see reason and will come up to the expectations of the people,” he said.

Referring to the visit of former president APJ Abdul Kalam to Kudunkulam on Sunday last, he said after seeing the plant himself he had given a ‘certificate’ vouching for its safety.


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