Mumbai: Hosp told to pay Rs 3.5L to woman who broke ankle in wheelchair accident | Mumbai News
Mumbai: Upholding a state commission’s 2019 order, the National Consumer Commission this week ordered Mahim-based P D Hinduja National Hospital to pay a patient Rs 3.5 lakh compensation after she broke her ankle in a wheelchair accident when she returned to the hospital for a check-up after a successful spinal surgery in 2012. The Andheri-based woman, Harsha Lala, was being taken to the OPD from the gate in a wheelchair handled by the hospital security guard when she fell on the ramp. The national commission observed that most wheelchair injuries happen in a medical setting due to the negligence of medical staff, and they could easily be prevented by the hospital or nursing home. “As a word of caution, in my view, the hospital authority should make systemic improvement in their administration and their grievance redressal mechanism to ensure the patient’s safety and to maintain good doctor-relationship,” presiding member Dr S M Kantikar said.
The commission further said in this case, the patient underwent mental agony and physical trauma, hence quantum of award decided by the state commission appears just and equitable. “No palpable crucial error in appreciating the evidence by the two fora below, as may cause to require… re-appreciation…. No jurisdictional error, or legal principle ignored, or miscarriage of justice, is visible,” the state commission said.
Lala arrived at the hospital on October 9, 2012 for a follow-up check-up. She had undergone a spinal surgery in the last week of September 2012. It was alleged that she was very rashly and negligently wheeled from the hospital corridor on to the ramp by an unidentified security guard. The security guard did not fasten the seat belt. As a result, Lala suffered a ‘head-on fall’ from the wheelchair and sustained a fracture in the left ankle. She further alleged that immediate first aid was not given and she was made to stand in queue for payment of X-ray charges, which caused further pain and agony. Lala claimed the incident was immediately reported to the hospital authorities, but to no avail.
The hospital denied the allegations and said the junior doctor attended to Lala immediately. The treating doctor ruled out any fracture and assessed that it was only a swelling around the ankle joint. The hospital said Lala was treated as per standards. It called the claim imaginary and highly exaggerated.
Lala moved the district forum in 2014. In 2015, it directed the hospital to pay compensation of Rs 1 lakh. The hospital moved Maharashtra State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission in 2016, which enhanced compensation. Aggrieved, the hospital then moved the national commission.