MEDICAL NEGLIGENCE UNDER CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT
Medical negligence is the need for a sensible level of skill in a particular profession or field which he undertakes with respect to the expert who is treating the person where the expert attendant is very much needed. Doctors and other medical professionals and highly respected in society and they always try to give or to provide their best to the treatment of the patient. They take this responsibility with due negligence and care and with the best of their knowledge but even though there are many medical negligence cases that come before in consumer court or criminal civil court under the Consumer Protection Act 1986.
On 9 April 1985, the U.N General Assembly issued some rules and guidelines to protect the interest of the consumers. Laws and policies were framed to protect the interest of the consumers, i.e to safeguard consumers from various harm to their safety and health.
Parliament of India formulated the Consumer Protection Act,1986 to look into the interest of the consumers and safeguard them because of that consumer courts were established to settle the disputes of the consumers.
The Act protects the interest of the consumers. Whenever he/she buys goods and services for daily needs but as we are talking about Medical negligence it protects one’s interest whenever a person goes for treatment to a doctor. Many medical associations did not accept and filed a strong protest against the act. On the grounds, the relation between a doctor and a patient is different from the relation between buyer and seller.
In the starting after the enactment of this act, there was a lot of confusion and gainsay in the medical fraternity and in the judiciary about the act.
But after the I.M.A. case was dismissed by the Honorable Supreme Court in its Landmark judgement, everything regarding medical negligence cases was looked into and all the confusion about the consumers and services were cleared.
CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT AND MEDICAL NEGLIGENCE
The relationship between Patients and Doctors is defined under CONSUMER PROTECT ACT to an extent where the right of both parties should be equal as much as it should do justice to them both.
In the case of Indian Medical Association v. Mr V.P. Shanta, the relation between a patient and a doctor was defined as ‘service’ in the CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT, 1986 and the parties who had faced injuries during the course of treatment or suffered through the process. The whole procedure can now sue doctors under this act for free in Consumer Protection Court for compensation.
The need arises from the fact that medical negligence is covered under the law of torts and IPC and people must be aware of the facts where medical negligence can be seen
Delay which in medical carelessness cases, the cost of bringing an action, Restricted access to the courts, Success relies upon confirmation of both negligence and causation.
There is a need to accommodate an alternate framework that would be available for people which the Indian Medical Council Act 1956, take time to provide the remedy to the people. For example - to please any complaint from a patient as well as to
take action against the doctor in the event of negligence committed to avoid any compensation in case their is negligence.
The Consumer Protection Act was established mainly to protect the interest of the consumers but people are being dishonest and blackmailing doctors. That's why doctors also have to stay alarmed as the law safeguards the rights of the medical professionals as well.
As it is mentioned in Section 26 of CPA, if a complaint is found to be silly or causing annoyance. The consumer forum will expel the complaint and make an order that the complainant has to pay the opposite party, minimum of ten thousand rupees.
As we can see, it is about universal awareness and the well-being of the community, the enactment of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 was done to bring justice to the consumer as the law required change and a changing society. These days with the increase in population and the shortage of health care facilities in both public and private hospitals the services provided by medical facilities are inadequate and poor in terms of value and quantity. There are various possibilities for medical negligence. Although patients often want a quick recovery, sometimes there are medical conditions that do not go as planned, either due to a doctor's mistake or a natural course of life. There is a small line of separation whether doctors are guilty or not. One thing to keep in mind is that they are also human and that making mistakes is normal. However, any injury caused by a negligent act on the part of a physician or medical staff will attract debt. If he is innocent, this could damage the doctor's reputation. Also, people should know that it is also wrong to blame doctors for a person’s lost health while treating a patient. A doctor would not kill a person for the purpose of revenge. The doctor performs a sacred act to heal the human body and save lives and the public should not do anything to lower the doctor's spirit. Therefore, proper rules and regulations should be observed before filing a medical complaint with a doctor.
Author ~ Akshansh Negi
Indore Institute of law
BBA LLB (hons)with global and transnational studies