Medical negligence is an unethical practice on the part of doctors or nurses and other medical practitioners. Negligence occurs when the treatment of a patient is not done in accordance with the medical procedure by any professional who is associated with the health industry. Malpractice occurs when the doctor lacks to provide standard care to the patient while doing his/her treatment. In the medical field, if a doctor fails to treat a patient with utmost care and responsibility, it is said to be medical negligence.
Medical negligence is a punishable offence under the Consumer Protection Act, Law of Tort, Indian Penal Code, Contract Act etc. In any case where the death is caused due to the medical negligence, but such death which does not amount to culpable homicide shall amount to imprisonment up to 2 years or fine or both according to the history of the case which is the subject matter. This law is covered under the Section 304A of the Indian Penal Code.
Medical Negligence due to Faulty Machines
- Outdated methods: One of the primary reason which leads to medical negligence by doctors is the use of outdated machines in the hospitals to diagnose health conditions of the patients. In India, the technology growth rate is fast and rapid. Therefore, it becomes necessary for the hospitals to keep themselves updated with the new technology.
- Lack of knowledge: The main reason for medical negligence that arises due to the faulty machine is the lack of experience with the machine and the limited understanding of its know-how in the hospital. This point is further elaborated below.
- Human errors: Errors can arise while operating the machine due to a lack of training on how the machine should be operated. Once in a while, the doctors should be given the training to use the updated machines. It’s a time-consuming process for any hospital, but the results accomplished are worth the time. By following such process, the chances of medical negligence reduce.
- Corruption: Sometimes, the cases of medical negligence also arise because of corruption. Money kept aside for technology development never gets used and instead is used for personal benefits leading to no updates in the technology.
- Lack of regular maintenance check of equipment: Malfunctioning or failure of machines may be caused due to lack of maintenance and the effectiveness of the machine. When machines are not checked on a regular basis, such a situation may arise. In case if a machine is related to heart surgery and is not checked for a long period of time, it can give wrong diagnosis leading to improper treatment of an individual.
- Reports not being maintained: In cases where the doctors and the hospital staff do not maintain proper records, then during legal proceedings, they won’t be able to save themselves from situations which arise due to faulty machines.
- Lack in monitoring the machines regularly: If the machines that are going to be used by doctors during surgery or other minor operations are not monitored continuously and checked regularly, then a situation of medical negligence may arise.
The above are a few reasons why medical negligence arises due to faulty machines. However, the benefit of the doubt can be given to those hospitals and doctors who have taken due care in maintaining the condition of the machines and updating them time to time with the technology advancement.
Guidelines to treat Faulty Machines
- Spreading awareness: It is crucial that awareness should be spread across the health industry regarding the latest technology, and the new machines that have come into force which can be useful in treating diseases.
- Equipment cleaning: The health care hospital or other health organisations must make written policies and layout a procedure on how a machine must be cleaned and disinfected after every use. The responsibility for cleaning such machines must be delegated appropriately.
- Multiple checks: The types of equipment that are used or going to be used in future must be checked regularly. Also, multiple check tests should be conducted, and the record of the same should be maintained.
- Training: Technical training can be given to the medical staff how a machine should be used. This can reduce human errors amounting to medical negligence.
- Outdated method: Medical practitioners are expected to be updated on the new techniques for treating diseases and also the latest technology with regards to machines.
A Lalbaug resident, Rajesh Maru, was sucked inside the MRI machine and was found dead. He was pulled out of the MRI with the help of an oxygen cylinder. This was termed as a negligent act by the doctors and the staff of the hospital due to the use of a faulty machine. Bombay high court passed an order granting interim concession of Rs 10 lakh to his family.
Indian patients suffer a lot due to faulty machines, and sooner or later, patients shall be empowered to claim compensation for health issues and other physical injuries that arise due to the use of such faulty machines. Recently the drug technical advisory board proposed that the medical rules of the country should be amended and compensation should be given to mishaps that arise due to the use of faulty machines.