Only Doctors, Not Hospitals Liable For Medical Negligence: HC
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09 August 2010
New Delhi, India
If a patient dies or suffers due to medical negligence in a hospital then its management cannot be prosecuted, the Delhi high court has said holding that only the doctors should be penalised.
The court, however, said the management of the hospital would be liable in case of administrative negligence and failure to provide basic infrastructure to the patients.
"The hospital/company cannot be held liable for the personal negligence of the doctor in giving wrong treatment," Justice Shiv Narayan Dhingra said while quashing criminal proceedings against the city’s reputed Indraprastha Apollo hospital.
"If there is an administrative negligence or a negligence of not providing basic infrastructure, which results into some harm to an aggrieved person or such negligence which is impersonal, the hospital can be held liable," Justice Dhingra said.
"But, in the case of medical negligence, which is personal to the doctor who gave treatment, the Corporation would not be liable and it is the doctor who can be indicted for medical criminal negligence," the court said.
The court also said it is the doctor who treats the patients and hospitals should not be punished due to error on part of its medical staff.
"The offence of medical criminal negligence cannot be fastened on the company since the company can neither treat nor operate a patient of its own, the court added."