CHENNAI: Holding that the negligence on the part of a doctor working in a government hospital caused the death of a 13-year-old school girl, the Madras High Court has ordered a compensation of Rs 5 lakh to her mother.
Justice S Nagamuthu gave the direction on November 28 last while partly allowing a criminal original petition from T Sulochana seeking a compensation of Rs 5 lakh and re-opening of a case on the file of the Vedaranyam police in Nagapattinam district registered in 2006. She had also sought a probe and action against the doctors, who were responsible for the death of her daughter. While the judge granted the first part of the prayer seeking compensation and rejected the plea to re-open the case.
According to the petitioner, her daughter T Sudhasini (13) was admitted in a government hospital in Vedaranyam for treatment of diarrhoea on July 22, 2006. Two doctors did not respond to the repeated pleas of the woman to attend to her daughter. The third, Dr Ramachandran attended on the girl. However, she died at 1.15 p.m. the same day. She lodged a complaint with Vedaranyam police, which registered a case for an offence under Sec 174 CrPC (suspicious death).
The judge noted that the Deputy Director of Medical and Rural Health Services and Family Welfare, Vellore conducted an enquiry and the report dated May 10, 2007 held Dr Ramachandran responsible for the death and he was imposed the punishment of stoppage of increment for one year with cumulative effect. The charges framed against Dr Karutha Pandian were abated as he passed away in October, 2010. The charges against Dr Sumathi had not been proved, the report had held. Accepting the report, the judge dropped the second prayer of the petitioner.
Coming to the first prayer, the judge pointed out that the deceased girl was hardly 13 years old at the time of death and she was studying in VIII standard in a local school. Admittedly, the death was not due to natural cause. She was the only girl child. She had been lovable to her mother and family members. “Having regard to the facts and circumstances of the case, I am of the considered view that directing the government to pay a sum of Rs 5 lakh towards compensation with interest at 9 per cent from today would meet the ends of Justice,” the judge said and accordingly gave the direction.