Chennai: In a major relief to a boy, who was diagnosed with HIV infection when he was 10 months old baby, after the blood transfusion carried out by the Institute of Child Health and Hospital For Children in Egmore when he was admitted for diarrhea in March 1999, and now completed his Diploma in Automobile Engineering and his divinely mother, who has been fighting for the rights of her son by approaching the court of law even though she is an illiterate and coolie, a city civil court has directed the Hospital to pay `20 lakh as compensation to them for the medical negligence and suggested to the state government to consider his case as a special one and appoint him in any post suitable to his educational qualification.
Decreeing a suit filed by S.Sorna, mother of the boy (now 20 years old), XVII Additional City Civil Court Judge V.Thenmozhe, presently Chairman, Permanent Lok Adalat, Chennai, directed the Dean, Institute of Child Health and Hospital For Children to pay a sum of
`20 lakh to the plaintiffs (Sorna and her son) towards the compensation for the medical negligence on the part of the doctors of the hospital.
In her order passed on April 22, 2019, when she was the XVII Additional city civil court judge, the official copy of which was made available recently, the judge said," Further, the hospital is directed to pay interest at the rate of 6 percent per annum on Rs 20 lakh from the date of filing of the present suit (2016). The office is directed to send the judgment of this case to the Principal Secretary to Government of Tamil Nadu and the Secretary to Government of Tamil Nadu, health and family welfare department", the judge added.
According to Sorna, on May 3, 1998, she gave birth to her child. She has two elder daughters and one son. On February 26, 1999, when the boy fell ill due to diarrhea and vomiting, she admitted him to Children Hospital in Egmore, She was told by the doctors of the hospital that small and large intestine were intertwined and that her son need a surgery to rectify the same. Before surgery, she was informed by the doctors that her son lost excessive blood and therefore he needs more blood and the hospital people made arrangements to provide blood to her son.
After surgery, blood was transmitted to her son. Her son was discharged on March 11, 1999.
However, within two days he fell sick and suffered with severe diarrhea and she took him to the Children Hospital again. After conducting various tests, the doctors advised her to approach
the Thoracic Medical Hospital in Tambaram Sanitorium, where he was diagnosed with HIV positive. The doctors also tested her and her husband but found negative.
When the doctors enquired as to whether blood was transmitted to her child during delivery or thereafter, she recollected the blood transfusion carried out at the Children Hospital in Egmore.
Thereafter, on the advice of some social workers, she filed a petition in the Madras high court against the hospital. While directing the hospital to pay `50,000 towards medical expenses and continued to give treatment to the boy, the high court in 2008 directed her to approach the appropriate civil court for relief. Accordingly, she filed the present suit.
The judge said the plaintiffs have discharged their initial burden by producing the medical records.
It has been contended by the hospital that the boy was discharged during March 1999 and only during September 1999, he was tested positive for HIV and hence during the interregnum period he could have taken treatment in a private hospital and there was every possibility that the disease could have been attacked due to the inadequate treatment taken in a private hospital. But no proof was forthcoming from the hospital to prove the said contention. When this court puts a specific question to Sorna, she has stated that no surgery was conducted to her son and no blood was transfused to him in any private hospital.
The hospital which was equipped with government machinery with several facilities ought to have verified the allegations in their written statement. But without any documentary evidence the hospital was simply alleging that due to the treatment taken in a private hospital during the interregnum period the HIV virus was infected to the boy and hence the same was not admissible. “This court is of the view that the boy was affected by HIV in view of the transfusion of HIV infected blood to him during the operation undergone at the Children Hospital, Egmore”, the judge added.
Referring to the contention of the hospital that the records will be kept only for 5 years and thereafter, the records including this case were destroyed, the judge said the hospital has not produced any documentary evidence to prove that the concerned records were destroyed. Just because there were guidelines issued by the Supreme Court and the hospital contends that the blood transfused to the boy was tested to eliminate HIV, it cannot be presumed that the blood transfused to the boy was without HIV.
“Even recently during December 2018 a 23-year-old pregnant woman was tested with positive for HIV after she was negligently transfused with HIV infected blood at government hospital, Sattur. According to the hospital, they have followed procedures in screening the blood.
But, even after 19 years similar cases were being reported. “Therefore, this court is of the considered view that it cannot be presumed that the blood transfused to the boy was free of HIV just because it has been contended by the hospital the blood was screened. Therefore, the said defence taken by the hospital is also to be discarded by this court”, the judge added.
The judge said the doctors of the government hospital who treated the boy were liable for negligence i.e., medical negligence.
“As a tortuous liability the defendant (hospital) who was the employer of the said doctors and employees are liable to pay compensation to the plaintiffs”, the judge added....