The Kerala High Court directed the state to implement necessary measures to ensure that time-bound investigations are conducted in medical negligence cases.

The court was considering a Writ Petition seeking directions to entrust the investigation to the Crime Branch. The petitioners contended that the doctor performed an unauthorized polypectomy during an endoscopy, leading to complications.

The Court emphasized the need for prompt and thorough investigations in such cases, recognizing that both doctors and complainants seek swift resolutions.

In medical negligence case, both sides want immediate action. Sometime, unnecessary complaints will be there against the doctors alleging medical negligence, and if the investigation is delayed, the doctors may have to face unnecessary humiliation. Similarly, the victims also want early decisions in medical negligence case”, the Bench of Justice PV Kunhikrishnan observed.

Advocate M S Amal Darshan appeared for the petitioners and Public Prosecutor Hrithwik CS appeared for the Respondents.

The deceased was admitted to the hospital for an endoscopy procedure, but during the procedure, the doctor performed a polypectomy without obtaining prior consent from the Petitioners. The deceased developed severe abdominal pain after the procedure and was sent home with some medicines. However, his condition worsened, and he was taken back to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with perforation of the intestine.

The Petitioners alleged that the hospital failed to provide proper medical care to the deceased and that the doctor's negligence caused his death. Aggrieved, the Petitioners approached the High Court by way of Writ Petition seeking directions to entrust the investigation of the case to the Crime Branch.

The Court noted that the police received the report from the State Apex Expert Committee and will be filing a final report within a week, including Section 304A IPC. However, the Bench emphasized the importance of expediting investigations in medical negligence cases. The Court noted that the District Level Medical Expert Committee and the State Level Apex Expert Committee ought to have a fixed timeframe for making decisions.

Furthermore, the Court observed that doctors may face unwarranted reputational damage due to frivolous complaints of medical negligence, while victims seek prompt justice in such cases.

Accordingly, the Court disposed of the Writ Petition.

Cause Title: Ushakumari O v State Of Kerala (2023:KER:75400)

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