Every patient death is NOT Medical Negligence - Kerala HC

8 Feb 2023 • The Court stated, "A medical professional cannot be held accountable simply because something went wrong due to accident or misfortune." In a recent decision (Philip Thomas and Ors. v. State of Kerala Ors.), the Kerala High Court ruled that a doctor can only be held accountable for medical negligence if the patient's death was a direct or indirect result of the doctor's actions. To accuse a medical professional with such negligence, there should be sufficient proof. In order for the alleged negligent act to give rise to criminal liability, the death must be the "direct or proximate result of the doctor's actions, The Court acquitted five medical professionals (two doctors and three nurses) who had been found guilty by a trial court of causing death by negligence and other offences after the death of a 37-year-old woman who had undergone a laparoscopic procedure in 2006. Complications by themselves do not amount to negligence. Negligence differs significantly from unfavourable or unfortunate circumstances. The Kerala High Court noted that there is a rising propensity to blame the doctor for a negative or unfavourable event. Though the lower court had sentenced them to simple imprisonment, the High Court, after careful consideration, decided that the medical negligence case would not stand against the accused and acquitted them.

Source: Bar and Bench | Read full story

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