Bhopal- In a landmark decision, the Madhya Pradesh State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has ordered Ayushman Children Hospital in Jabalpur to pay Rs 85 lakh in compensation for negligence in the treatment of a young girl, leading to the irreversible loss of her eyesight. This heart-wrenching case dates back to December 2002 when Shailendra Jain, a resident of Katni, admitted his prematurely born daughter to the said hospital.
Representing the victim, Advocate Deepesh Joshi expressed the historical significance of this judgment, as it marks the highest compensation ever imposed on a hospital for negligence. The verdict, delivered on September 14, by the bench consisting of members AK Tiwari, Shrikant Pandey, and DK Srivastava of the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, is a testament to the pursuit of justice.
Shailendra Jain, the father of the victim, recounted the tragic events, stating that their daughter was born premature with a low birth weight on December 11, 2002. Following the advice of doctors, they entrusted her care to Ayushman Children Hospital in Jabalpur, where initially, she appeared to be in good health. However, a fateful newspaper article revealed the potential eye-related risks for premature babies, prompting the concerned parents to seek medical opinion. It was then that they received the devastating news that their daughter had lost her eyesight.
Over the next two and a half months, the Jains sought numerous medical consultations, clinging to the hope that their daughter's eyesight could be restored. While their journey was marked by anxiety and uncertainty, they eventually learned that their daughter's blindness was a result of the hospital's negligence. In 2004, they filed a complaint with the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, initiating a long and arduous legal battle for justice.
Shailendra Jain's pursuit of justice was fraught with challenges, including the need to travel from Jabalpur to Bhopal for court appearances. Amidst their fight for justice, the Jains also faced the formidable task of ensuring their daughter's education. They decided to relocate to Jabalpur to provide Sakshi, their daughter, with the best possible education. Today, Sakshi is a second-year BA student in Jabalpur, balancing her academic pursuits with a passion for music.
Sakshi herself, when asked about her situation, expressed her focus on her studies and her aspiration to enter government service, leveraging her musical talents.
Advocate Deepesh Joshi highlighted that the complaint was filed in 2004 when Sakshi was just two year old. She had been placed in an incubator at Ayushman Children's Hospital on the advice of doctors due to her premature birth. However, shortly after her return home, it became evident that she had lost her eyesight permanently. Medical examinations later revealed that she suffered from retinopathy of prematurity, a condition attributed to an excessive oxygen dose during her time in the incubator, exposing the hospital's negligence.
The Madhya Pradesh State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission unequivocally held the hospital accountable, stating that "due to the negligence of the hospital and the doctors, the victim girl Sakshi Jain has been concluded to have lost her vision for life and has become blind." The Commission recognized that this loss could have profound implications on Sakshi's future, both socially and economically. The compensation order directed the hospital management to pay Rs 40 lakh within 60 days, with a 6% per annum interest rate from April 12, 2004, until the payment date. A stern warning was issued that if the amount was not paid within 60 days, an 8% interest penalty would apply from the order date until the payment date.