In a case of gross negligence, twelve children were administered hand sanitiser drops instead of oral polio vaccine drops in a village in Yavatmal, Maharashtra. An inquiry is underway against three healthcare workers involved in the incident.
What recourse do patients have?
Under civil law, a patient can:
- Complain to the State Medical Council/Medical Council of India, if the complaint is against a doctor.
- File a case before a consumer court for deficiency in services against a doctor, healthcare worker or hospital in the District, State or National Consumer Commissions to receive compensation for the loss or injury suffered.
- File a case before a civil court for damages.
Under criminal law, a patient can file a criminal complaint citing gross negligence or hurt, for invoking punishment against a doctor, healthcare worker or the person in charge at a hospital, in the form of imprisonment and fine.
Anyone who causes the death of a person by doing any rash or negligent act can be punished with imprisonment for up to two years and/or a fine.
What are the different types of hurt punishable under criminal law?
|Simple hurt – Intentionally/knowingly causing bodily pain, disease or infirmity to any person.
|Imprisonment for up to one year and/or a fine of up to Rupees one thousand.
|Grievous hurt – Voluntarily causing:
- Permanent deprivation of eyesight.
- Permanent deprivation of hearing.
- Deprivation of any member/joint.
- Permanent impairing of the powers of any member or joint.
- Permanent disfiguration of the head or face.
- Fracture or dislocation of a bone or tooth.
- Any hurt which endangers life or results severe bodily pain for twenty days.
|Imprisonment for up to seven years and a fine.
|Hurt using poison – Intentionally causing hurt by administering poison, or any intoxicating or unwholesome drug to any person.
||Imprisonment for up to ten years and a fine.
|Grievous hurt using acid – Intentionally causing grievous hurt or deformity, or burning or disfiguring the body of a person, by throwing acid on that person.
|Imprisonment for ten years up to life imprisonment, and a fine (paid to the victim).
|Hurt to obstruct a public servant – Intentionally hurting or preventing a public servant from discharging their duty.
||Imprisonment for up to three years and/or a fine.