CRIMINAL LIABILITY OF DOCTORS AND HOSPITALS IN INDIA, By Erwin Thomas Wilson @LexCliq

Medical Negligence is a feature of both medical and health law. The word “medical negligence” has many meanings, but it has recently become popular to refer to wrongful acts or omissions by medical practitioners when practicing their occupation and working with patients. It is not specified or stated in any of the Indian laws that have been passed. There is a valid solution for any violation of a legal right. The phrase “Ubi jus ibi remedium” is taken from the maxim “Ubi jus ibi remedium.” Medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional fails to offer appropriate treatment and attention and use the expertise that a responsible, trained physician might use under comparable circumstances. The repercussions of medical neglect, which are supplemented by a combination of the fundamental constituents of medical negligence and practitioner responsibilities, as well as the legal minimum quality of treatment.

MEDICAL NEGLIGENCE COMPONENTS

  • EXISTENCE OF A LEGAL OBLIGATION
    The doctor has a duty to have the most logical and possible recovery option as soon as the doctor and patient develop a private relationship. This is part of the responsibility. In medical malpractice lawsuits, physicians often ignore more successful curing techniques or refuse newer recovery options. Someone approaches another human, confident in his abilities and advanced expertise. As a result, the individual has a moral obligation to exercise the same level of diligence as his peers.
  • BREACH OF LEGAL OBLIGATION
    When a doctor completes medical school, he or she swears to uphold the Hippocratic Oath. According to the Hippocratic Oath, physicians have a responsibility to provide their patients with the best care possible. When a practitioner fails to perform their duties, they violate the contract, have tampered with the oath, or have disrespected the oath. This is the breach aspect of medical negligence. A doctor must refuse to fulfill their duties to break their deal. If an individual does not fulfill his legal duties as his peers may have done in the specified situations and circumstances, it is said to be a violation of legal duty.
  • DAMAGES RESULTING FROM THE BREACH
    The losses and deaths sustained must be paid. Compensation must be just, equitable, and rational, and it must be based on the facts and circumstances of the case. Damages are a punitive liability for the damage caused by the incompetence of a practitioner. The injuries or harm suffered must be able to be compensated for a medical malpractice lawsuit to succeed in court. However, the court should determine if the losses should be valued in monetary terms.

CRIMINAL LIABILITY
“Whoever causes the death of a person by a reckless or careless act not amounting to culpable homicide shall be punished with imprisonment for a period of two years, or with a fine, or with both,” according to Section 304A of the Indian Penal Code of 1860. If a patient dies as a result of a doctor’s gross negligence or deliberate intent, the doctor may face criminal charges. A doctor may be held vicariously responsible for the actions of his staff or servants. Such general provisions of the IPC, such as Sections 337 (causing hurt) and 338 (grievous hurt), can also be included in medical malpractice situations. To find a doctor legally liable for a patient’s death, it must be shown that the doctor acted in malice or misconduct that went beyond civil liability. And if the doctor acted in a way that jeopardized the patient’s health and wellbeing would he be held criminally liable.

  • Criminal Liability Exemptions
    The Indian Penal Code, Sections 80 and 88, provides defenses for physicians convicted of criminal liability. “Nothing is an offense that is committed by mistake or misfortune and without any unlawful purpose or intelligence in the doing of a lawful act in a lawful way by lawful means and with reasonable precaution and caution,” says Section 80 (Accident in doing a lawful act). “An individual cannot be guilty of an offense if she or he commits an act in good conscience for the benefit of another, does not wish to cause injury even if there is a danger, and the patient has expressly or indirectly given consent,” according to Section 88.

TEST FOR CRIMINAL LIABILITY

The following conditions will be used by the court to determine whether a case comes under criminal negligence or not:

  • In civil and criminal law, the definition of negligence is defined differently. What is considered negligence in civil law is not always considered negligence in criminal law. The elements of mens rea (mental intention) must be shown for failure to be considered an offense. The degree of negligence must be much higher or extremely high for an act to be considered criminal negligence.
  • While the term “gross” is not included in section 304A of the IPC, it is well established that in criminal law, incompetence or recklessness must be of such a high degree to be so retained. The phrase “rash or irresponsible act,” as used in section 304A of the IPC, must be justified by the term “grossly.”
  • To sue a doctor or hospital for incompetence under criminal law, it must be shown that the accused did or failed to do something that no medical practitioner in his or her ordinary senses and prudence would have done or failed to do under the specified facts and circumstances. The suspected doctor’s act should have been of such a kind that the damage that occurred was almost certainly inevitable.

In the case of V. Krishna Rao v. Nikhil Super Specialty Hospital, Krishna Rao was an officer in the malaria department. His wife was treated negligently by the hospital. He filed a case against this negligence of the hospital. His wife was suffering from malaria but was wrongly treated with Typhoid and thus wrong medication was given to her. Finally, the case was decided and Krishna Rao was awarded compensation amounting to Rs 2 lakhs. In this case, the principle of res ipsa loquitor (legal principle for a ‘thing speak for itself’) was applied, and the compensation was given to the plaintiff.

 

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