Medical Negligence Compensation- SC Enhances Compensation in view of Poor Background of Victim

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March 08, 2019

The Supreme Court in the present case enhanced compensation on account of medical negligence meted out to the Appellant has observed that a poor background of the victim may guide the adjudicatory process towards reasonably higher amount of compensation.

Case name: Shoda Devi v. DDU/Ripon Hospital Shimla & ors.

In the instant case, the appellant has assailed National Commission’s order and sought enhancement of compensation on the ground that the appellant’s disablement and loss suffered by her due to the negligence of the respondents, which led to the amputation of her right arm.

The National Commission for the medical negligence meted out to the appellant awarded a compensation of Rs. 2,00,000/-.

Bench’s Verdict

The Supreme Court in view of the facts and circumstances of the case and precedents on the subject enhanced the compensation and made the following observations in the case:

  • The Supreme Court noted that the requirement in such cases of disablement due to medical negligence is of awarding just and reasonable compensation to the victim, while keeping in view the pecuniary damages as also the non- pecuniary damages like pain and suffering and loss of amenities of life.
  • The Apex Court while condemning the award of compensation by the National Commission was of the view that even after appreciating the troubles and trauma as also disablement and disadvantage suffered by the appellant, had been too restrictive in award of compensation.
  • That the general damages towards pain and suffering as also loss of amenities of life deserve to be considered uniformly for the human beings and the award of compensation cannot go restrictive when the victim is coming from a poor and rural background; rather, in a given case like that of the appellant, such a background of the victim may guide the adjudicatory process towards reasonably higher amount of compensation (of course, after having regard to all the attending circumstances).
  • That granting of reasonability higher amount of compensation in the present case appears necessary to serve dual purposes: one, to provide some succour and support to the appellant against the hardship and disadvantage due to amputation of right arm; and second, to send the message to the professionals that their responsiveness and diligence has to be equi-balanced for all their consumers and all the human beings deserve to be treated with equal respect and sensitivity.

In view of the aforesaid observations, the Supreme Court allowed further an amount of Rs. 10,00,000/- towards compensation, over and above the amount awarded by the State Commission and the National Commission.

The entire case can be accessed here.