The Orissa High Court in a medical negligence case has observed that some doctors are acting in utter disregard to human life in expectation of pecuniary advantage, to malign the noble profession.

The Court was dealing with an application filed by a doctor seeking to quash the criminal proceedings instituted against him that were pending before the SDJM, Bhubaneswar.

A Single Bench of Justice G. Satapathy said, “The position of Doctor in India as accepted by public generally is next to God, but there are certain instances/aberration of course a few in number, the medical practitioners are acting in utter disregard to human life in expectation of pecuniary advantage to malign in the noble profession. A Doctor is always expected to treat or provide assistance to the patient to the best of his knowledge and ability without any material expectation which is why renders such profession as noble and they are considered as emissary of God in our country.”

The Bench also said that no sensible professional, more particularly a Doctor would intentionally commit an act or omit to do an act which would result in loss of life.

Senior Advocate M.K. Mishra appeared for the petitioner while AGA S.S. Pradhan appeared for the State.

Brief Facts -

The petitioner was a Doctor and worked as a Medicine Specialist in Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation Hospital (BMC Hospital). A woman was admitted in Medicine Ward of the said hospital and was under the treatment of the petitioner. As she was having low haemoglobin and her condition was getting worse, her uncle requested the petitioner and staff of BMC Hospital to give her blood transfusion immediately for her treatment, but although they assured to give the blood, her condition became serious and despite being requested by one female doctor for several times, the petitioner did not respond.

The informant also requested the petitioner, but he refused and asked him to contact with a Surgery Specialist to attend the patient and the said doctor on being requested over phone assured to direct the petitioner to attend the patient immediately, but unfortunately the said woman died in the midnight due to negligence of the petitioner. In order to pacify and manage the situation, the female doctor shifted the deceased with Oxygen support by an Ambulance to Capital Hospital where the doctor on duty declared the deceased as received dead. After this incident, the uncle of the deceased lodged an FIR and therefore, a charge sheet was filed against the petitioner. This led to criminal proceeding being instituted against him who by way of the application, approached the High Court.

The High Court after hearing the contentions of the counsel for parties noted, “A medical practitioner faced with an emergency situation would definitely try his level best to treat the patient and ordinarily could not leave his patient to die.”

The Court held that the petitioner has not made out a case to show that the criminal proceeding instituted against him in this case is an abuse of process of Court.

“… it is of course true whether the deceased died on account of gross negligence of the Petitioner is a question of fact which can be answered in the trial after evidence is led, but the materials so collected by the Investigating Agency when tested on the touch stone of the parameters as laid down in Jacob Mathew(supra), there appears some prima facie case against the Petitioner vindicating a trial in this case”, said the Court.

Accordingly, the High Court dismissed the application and requested the Trial Court to dispose of the case within six months as it was a 2009 case.

Cause Title- Dr. Biswa Mohan Mishra v. State of Orissa

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