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Not Providing Medical Records Within 3 days Is “Deficiency In Service”: Maharashtra Consumer Court Declares, Awards Rs. 19 Lakh Compensation Against Two Mumbai Hospitals/Doctors For Death Following Surgery For “Cervical Spondylitis”

Maharashtra State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (MCDRC) has held Maruti Nursing Home, Platinum Hospital in Mulund, Mumbai and 4 doctors including Dr. Mihirgiril Goswami, Dr. Asafaque Dolare (Physician) and Dr. Satyen Mehta (Spine Surgeon) guilty for ethical violation and medical negligence causing death of 48-year old Mrs. Kamini Barkur following a botched surgery that eventually resulted in sepsis and awarded a total compensation of Rs. 19 lakh against the doctors/hospitals. The victim, a school teacher, was treated for cervical spondylitis for which a botched surgery was performed and the patient was also given wrong injection without proper attention to its contraindication, according to the reported judgment (see the entire judgment below).

While holding the doctors/hospitals guilty for medical negligence, the court has also come down heavily on the deliberate and unethical behaviors by the doctors/hospitals that allegedly concocted the treatment record and harassed the victim’s family from receiving the medical records as required by law. In this regard, the court has categorically held, “Failure to provide copy of medical record within 72 hours of the application itself is deficiency in service. Non maintenance of proper medical record is the act of omission”. Section 1.3 of MCI Code of Medical Ethics & Regulations has mandated that all doctors/hospitals must provide entire medical records to the patient-party within a maximum time of 3 days and that all doctors/hospitals must maintain medical records for at least a period of 3 years.

As promoted by PBT, all patients and patient-parties must always file a written request to the treating doctor/hospital to obtain medical records following discharge of the patient or unfortunate death from medical negligence. If any hospital/doctor refuses to provide the medical records after receiving a written request from the patient-party, they may be held guilty for “deficiency in service” as held by the Maharashtra Consumer Court.

Maharashtra Commission Judg. (May, 2019) failure to provide medical record deficiency of service – para 17