Hospital, Doctors To Compensate Patient with Rs5.66 Lakh for Hepatitis C Infection after Surgery
Mumbai – A lady patient who said she contracted the incurable Hepatitis C virus following a surgery at a reputed hospital in Mumbai was granted Rs 5.66 lakh compensation by the South Mumbai District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum that includes reimbursement of hospital and litigation charges. 
 
The lady, 52-years old in 2007 and healthy, was recommended surgery for hysterectomy by the doctors she consulted after she underwent one month of heavy bleeding. Upon admission at Bombay Hospital, her body and blood tests showed normal parameters before the surgery. 
 
The surgery was conducted on 24 July  2007 "only after receiving a clean chit from the Hospital that she had none of the viruses such as Hepatitis B, C or E or HIV."  
 
However, within one month the lady, "found her skin was itching, her eyes were turning yellow, her urine had turned dark, her stools had become pale and she started suffering from influenza, aching joints and muscles, extreme tiredness, fever, lack of appetite and pain in the stomach,’’ the Redressal Forum said in its order. 
 
She was asked by her family physician Dr Prashant T Mane to get complete blood count, liver function tests, routine urine analysis, Australia Antigen and a few other tests. Since these tests didn’t reveal any abnormality, the patient consulted Dr Amarapurkar at Bombay Hospital, who suggested additional tests, which tested positive HCV (i.e., virus of Hepatitis). 
 
The presence of Hepatitis C in her body would bring down her immunity level and make her prone to contracting all kinds of dangerous diseases, including contagious diseases. 
 
The patient suspected she may have contracted Hepatitis C virus from the hospital since all her tests showed normal status when she came for the surgery. She was not tested by the hospital for Hepatitis C before the operation. 
 
Presence of Hepatitis C would dramatically alter her normal life, interaction with close family members, including her husband, need separate common household items including towels, and require her to take periodic medical check-ups, and regular medicines for the rest of her life. This could also lower her immunity to several other diseases. 
 
The hospital, doctors and other technicians "have caused grave, irreversible and irreparable physical, emotional, psychological, financial and moral harm to her,’’ the complainant said in her application to the Forum. 
 
The hospital and other defendants in turn said the lady was suffering  "heavy vaginal bleeding for over a period of one month and the root cause of which was presence of intra uterus tumours called fibroids which were pressing the inner lining of the uterus and causing extensive life threatening loss of blood.’’
 
The infection may have been contracted after the surgery, the hospital and doctors said in their reply. They explained certain situations in which Hepatitis C virus can be contaminated in the body of the patient. Those situations include: a. Injecting narcotic drugs b. Use of tattoos c. Body piercing d. Transfusion of infected blood e. Sexual intercourse with infected person f. Use of unsterile needles and syringes g. Dental treatment h. Unsterile medical treatment i. Nasal inhalation of cocaine j. Manicure/pedicure k. At beauty saloon l. endoscopy m. French kiss n. Any form of body fluid exchange. 
 
The lady patient, who has three healthy and grown up children aged 22, 28 and 32 years, and is herself employed for 34 years at a five-star hotel, denied the possibility of her contracting the virus from any other avenue. Her lawyers asked for Rs19.71 lakh as compensation as cost of damages, compensation, mental agony. The jurisdiction of the Forum is to grant up to Rs20 lakh.
 
The Forum also pointed out that "the surgery can be performed for removing the uterus from the abdomen of the patient or from the vaginal cavity. In the present case, the said surgery is performed by giving her general anaesthesia & through her vaginal cavity and not from the abdomen, hence the possibility of use of unsterilised equipment or machinery or needles at the time of surgery cannot be fully ignored.’’
 
The Forum granted her compensation of Rs5 lakh as token compensation for the grave irreversible and irreparable mental agony, life-long restrictions, financial losses, loss of reputation in society and risk to the family members of the patient. It also permitted reimbursement of Rs56,000 spent on the hospital expenses and Rs10,000 as litigation costs by a consumer court. The order was read on 24 April, 2019 in Mumbai. 
 
A full copy of judgement can be read by clicking the following link
 
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HC asks Johnson & Johnson to pay patients Rs 25 lakh compensation each
The Delhi High Court on Thursday asked Johnson & Johnson to pay Rs 25 lakh compensation each to patients affected by its faulty articular surface replacement (ASR) hip implants.
 
Justice Vibhu Bakhru's direction came while hearing Johnson & Johnson's plea challenging the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare's decision asking the company to pay compensation to patients.
 
In the previous hearing, Johnson & Johnson had said that it was ready to pay Rs 25 lakh compensation each to patients affected by its faulty ASR hip implants.
 
Senior Advocate Sandeep Sethi informed the Court that Johnson has conducted a verification process and identified some of the patients who are eligible to receive compensation.
 
Thereafter, the Court directed the company to furnish a list of such patients.
 
The Court also granted one more week's time to the government to file its response and listed the matter for for further hearing on May 29.
 
Johnson & Johnson has said the Centre had no jurisdiction under the Drug and Cosmetics Act to enforce the compensation as determined by the expert committee set up to examine faulty hip implants.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
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Lodha Defamation Case: Judge Gautam Patel strikes down injunction request
In a landmark judgement, on 26th April, 2019, Justice Gautam Patel struck down an injuction request by Lodha Group against Mr Krishnaraj Rao. This ruling was made in an ongoing defamation lawsuit filed by Lodha Group.
 
It all started with a viral video of a man punching a wall which resulted in the cracking of it. The clip was uploaded by Krishnaraj Rao an activist and friend of home owner, Shilpi Thard. Ms Thard had been actively uploading videos with her friend to show the low quality of her home at New Cuffe Parade, established in Wadala’s Lodha Group complex. Lodha had then filed a defamation suit on Jan. 17, 2019 accusing Ms Thard as being a “blackmailer and an extortionist”.
 
In the subsequent hearings, Lodha made an allegation of malice, stating that “Mr Rao is a busybody who habitually publishes negative articles and videos against select developers and then hints at blackmail.” The basis of their case was that Mr Rao and Ms Thard published material that is defamatory, false and untrue. They maintained that there is nothing wrong with the flats purchased by the defendant and that Lodha has fully complied with any rectification work, which in itself was minor and not that unusual. Therefore, they claimed to be “the aggrieved innocent victims of a smear campaign and the published material is the handiwork of extortionists whose demands have not been met.”
 
Lodha had sought interim relief in the case by asking the court for an injunction against Mr Rao on the basis of 5 particular statements that he had made. The presiding judge Justice Gautam Patel, individually considered each of the statements and the arguments presented by both parties. 
 
The first of these statements - “The suit-booted residents of Lodha NCP have been conned into living on a construction site, and MMRDA officials who issued the certificate, are in connivance. It’s an open secret hiding in plaint sight. It’s the proverbial elephant in the room” - was not granted an injunction by the judge. “It seems to me clear that this statement does not fall within that definition. It is undoubtedly comment. Some say it is aggressively worded, but that is possibly the worst that can be said about it,” said Justice Patel.
 
This is the second statement presented by Lodha for injunction - “It is a large plot of land which had been leased from MMRDA which has been originally intended for infrastructure, very honestly there has been a lot of ‘golmaal’ in the way they have acquired the plot, in the was MMRDA has leased them the plot…” After discussion, Mr Rao confirmed to the court that he had sources to establish the correctness of his statement and agreed that presented without facts the statement could be problematic. He therefore agreed that he would not repeat the statement without the necessary factual basis. 
 
The third statement sought for an injunction by Lodha alleges that the building has been constructed “…without following rules and norms, National Building Code and DC regulations”. In his argument, Mr Rao stated that a previous architect’s report had pointed out specific violations, but Justice Patel affirmed that it does not which violations. Nevertheless, Lodha had questioned the accuracy and correctness of the report and Justice Patel in turn ruled that it is difficult to consider that “the statement is per se defamatory, it will have to await trial”.
 
The fourth statement is an extract from a video, where Mr Rao is accused of saying without justification that banks are also involved with Lodha regarding the manner in which loans are passed. He alleges that Lodha dictates terms to the banks and that it us a large customer that banks cannot refuse. The context of this statement reveals that it has nothing at all to do with mere financing or even the level of influence or money muscle, but to an allegation Mr Rao makes that the entire financing structure is based on an incorrect statement of the actual carpet area of the flat being sold. After hearing the arguments of both parties, the judge ruled, “On a objective assessment, I find that what Rao has said here is in an opinion, fair comment or argument with some basis in fact. There is no question of an injunction or even of asking if he will volunteer a statement. The statement is not, prima facie, per se defamatory.”
 
In the fifth and final statement sought for an injuction by Lodha, Mr Rao alleges that “the basement of the entire complex does not have an occupation certificate. The fire brigade and MMRDA have not inspected it and it cannot be certified as it stands.” He further alleges that with permissions for three basements, four were constructed and that the clearance or head space is inadequate for proper air circulation and ventilation. After hearing Mr Rao explain his statement, Justice Patel was satisfied that this statement also could not be considered defamatory since, Mr Rao “is able to demonstrate prima facie that such a state of affairs exists. He maintains that this was based first on material that he himself saw. There is contemporaneous documentation that he asserts in justification of what he says in this context.”
 
Judge Patel concluded saying, “The plaint suggests that nothing that was stated in this material was true, and almost the wholeof it was defamatory; what was true was trivial and was in the nature of routine rectification. Prima facie that does not appear to be so, and Lodha must be held to have failed to make out a prima facie case even on these five statements to which Lodha has now limited its injunction application.” 
 
The court also went on to address the issue of YouTube and social media, since Mr Rao’s form of journalism is not in the more traditional form of print. Justice Patel smartly questioned, “what of that? Does it make the slightest difference? There is no different standard of law that applies to online journalism or comment.” He explained that if a statement knowing it to be false, or in reckless disregard of the truth, the medium in which is made is entirely irrelevant. He went on to make an important distinction that, “A statement is not to be viewed as suspicious only because it is not made in print and is made only online, or using one or more of the available modern communications channels or technologies.”
 
Although there is proliferation of fake news online, it does not necessarily mean that everything about the technology is evil or undesirable. Justice Patel further added that “a statement is not true merely because it is in print. It is not false merely because it is online. The only difference is that online media allows for plurality of voices. Online, everyone is a journalist, or a potential journalist.” 
 
He affirmed once again that, “Calling out someone, with fair comment and justification, is not defamation. To put it differently: to say the emperor has no clothes is not defamation. It never has been.” Therefore, he also stated that he would not be making an order of take-down against YouTube. 
 
 
 
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COMMENTS

K C Gangadhar

3 weeks ago

If the video circulated ( I have seen it) has not been disputed by Lodha as fake, then we should say Lodha has got off lightly. For handing such pathetic completed flats they should have been pulled up severely based purely on the dream flats" they promised through advertisements.

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