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National Consumer Disputes Redressal
P.G.I., Chandigarh vs Jaspal Singh And Ors. on 29 September, 2000


Rajyalakshmi Rao, Member

1. This is an appeal filed by the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGI), Chandigarh, against the order passed by the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions, Chandigarh in Original Complaint No. 12 of 1997. The brief facts of the case are that the Complainant No. 1, Jaspal Singh and Amandeep Singh, minor son of Jaspal Singh, Complainant No. 2, filed a complaint on 24.2.1997 against the Hospital (PGI) and Dr. Varun, Senior Resident, Department of Plastic Surgery, alleging medical negligence in the death of Smt. Harjit Kaur, wife of Complainant No. 1. She suffered burn injuries to the extent of 50% on 30.3.1996 and was admitted in Dayanand Medical College, Ludhiana (DMC) and later was shifted to PGI on 19.4.1996 because the treatment was costly in the private hospital. He died on 1.7.1996 and the husband alleges medical negligence against the PGI and Dr. Varun Kulshreshta due to mismatched blood transfusion given to here and claimed Rs. 9 lakhs from the PGI and Dr. Varun Kulshreshta. The State Commission directed the PGI to pay Rs. 2 lakhs out of which 3/4ths should be put in fixed deposit in favour of the Complainant No. 2, the minor son and 1/4th to be paid to the Complainant No. 1, the husband and costs of Rs. 5,000/- to be paid to the Complainant No. 1.

2. The learned Counsel for the Appellant Hospital argued that the death summary report clearly shows that the cause of death was septicemia and not due to mismatched blood transfusion. It is her case that it is unlikely a patient could die because of mismatched blood transfusion after a long gap of 41 days and the delayed haemolytic transfusion reaction could occur only from 2 to 10 days from the date of the said transfusion. She contended that the cause of death is not due to mismatched blood transfusion given on 20th and 21st May, 1996 but due to burn injuries and any other connected reason arising out of such burn injury. It was contended that Hemoglobin level was brought up from 10 to 11.5 grams percentage and her vital organs were normal. The learned Counsel further argued that the Complainant husband brought the blood from the blood bank himself and that it was his responsibility to check the right blood group and that he failed in his duty in bringing the correct blood being fully aware of his wife’s blood group. The Counsel also contended that the conduct of the Complainant is in doubt as he wanted to make money out of his wife’s death and that the matter requires police investigation into the cause of burn injuries since it becomes a medico-legal case. She further argued that the patient was on the recovery and all her vital organs were improved and urea of blood was also reduced from 100 mg. Percentage to 40 mg. Percentage. She also relied upon some relevant medical literature to prove her point and pleaded the order of the State Commission be set aside.

3. We have perused the death summary reported and the order passed by the State Commission. It is seen that the patient’s kidney was damaged and the blood level reached to 100 gms. percentage, hemoglobin came down to 5 mg. after the mismatched blood transfusion was given by the Doctor in the said Hospital. It was only after the Complainant gave the written complaint to the hospital regarding the wrong transfusion of blood given to the patient, an inquiry was made and it was found correct. The damage control treatment started only after the written complaint was given by the Complainant. Though it is argued by the Counsel for the Appellant that the percentage levels were brought down to normal, it is very clear to us that the internal imbalances of liver and kidney functioning and deteriorating hemoglobin levels started only after the mismatched blood transfusion was given. Though septicemia has been written as the ultimate cause of death, the patient’s health took a nose dive only after wrong blood was given to her and this is clearly negligence on the part of the Doctors of the Hospital which the appellants cannot disown or absolve themselves.

4. We cannot appreciate the Appellants’ contention that the Complainant No. 1 brought the blood himself and that he should be blamed for bringing the wrong blood since he had the knowledge of the right blood group of his wife. This argument is totally unpalatable to us because it is a common knowledge that when blood is asked by the Hospital, the relatives of the patient run helter and skelter to get the blood either of the same group or any group in exchange to the equivalent volume given by them to the hospital. It is the duty of the hospital to make sure that the blood is correctly matched before giving to the patient. After it was given on 20th and 21st May, 1996 the patient’s urine contained red blood and the kidney, liver and blood levels got affected which are all admitted facts and ever since her condition (sic) deteriorated.

5. The State Commission has considered and discussed the material placed on the record and returned the finding that there has been serious deficiency and negligence on the part of the PGI and its attending Doctors/Staff for transferring wrong blood group to the patient which caused death of the wife of Complainant No. 1. We see no legal infirmity in the order passed by the State Commission which may call for any interference. We see no merit in the Appeal and it is dismissed in limine.

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