The Delhi High Court in a medical negligence case has directed the Delhi Government to pay a sum of Rs. 3 lakhs as ex-gratia cost/reimbursement of medical expenses to the two-and-a-half-year-old child who lost his vision after premature birth.

A Single Bench of Justice Prathiba M. Singh held, “… in the overall facts and circumstances of this case, taking a compassionate and empathetic view of the matter, as also the fact that the Petitioner had moved from one hospital to another in order to obtain the requisite treatment for the newly born child, Rs.3 lakhs is awarded as ex-gratia costs/reimbursement of medical expenses to the Petitioner. The Petitioner is, however, free to avail of his remedies, if any, in accordance with law.”

The Bench directed the GNCTD (Government of National Territory of Delhi) to release the amount within a period of six weeks.

Advocate Ajay Kumar Pipaniya represented the petitioner while ASC Satyakam represented the respondents.

In this case, the petitioner was a minor who filed a writ petition through his father. He was a premature child born in the 29th week of gestation of the mother.

The petitioner sought compensation for loss of vision/ eyesight, medical expenses incurred in different hospitals, mental harassment, and physical and mental agony. His case was that he got totally blind due to medical negligence as a Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) screening which was to be conducted within four weeks of the birth was not conducted in the required time frame.

The High Court after hearing the contentions of the counsel said, “This Court observes that the newly born child has turned blind due to various unfortunate circumstances. After perusing the record, at this stage, the Court is unable to go into the facts in detail and pin point the blame to any particular individual or organisation. The child was a premature baby, had several birth related complications and thereafter contacted Pneumonia. In the midst of this, the ophthalmic department has conducted the requisite tests and taken the necessary steps. In view of various complications, the child could also not be discharged early. The entire period was during the pandemic.”

The Court further clarified that the direction for the release of the sum of Rs. 3 lakhs shall not be construed as an opinion on merits qua the conduct of the hospital or the doctor concerned.

Accordingly, the Court directed the Government to pay compensation to the petitioner.

Cause Title- Master Pratham Singh Latwal v. Guru Gobind Singh Govt Hospital and Ors. (Neutral Citation: 2023:DHC:2095)

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