In March 2010, a woman from Dombivali Mumbai, sought relief from severe body ache and exhaustion. She subsequently contacted two doctors for her treatment. Little did she know she was about to be pulled into a decade-long legal battle.
She alleged that the doctors performed surgery on her without her permission and without explaining the risks involved. Moreover, the surgery led to permanent damage to both of her ureters.
In 2012, she filed a complaint against the two doctors with the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission.
Her complaint further stated that she had to get another surgical procedure with a different doctor a year later. The second surgery revealed that the damage to her ureters could only have occurred due to incompetence and negligence on the part of both doctors.
Claims of professional negligence are quite common across many professions. For this reason, professionals like doctors, lawyers, consultants, and other service providers opt for a special kind of insurance policy - Professional Indemnity Insurance.
Also known as Errors and Omissions, this insurance indemnifies a service business or a professional against claims of gross misconduct, wrongdoing, or negligence made against them. This insurance covers the legal defence costs of the insured and any damages or compensation that they may be required to pay as per court decisions.
In this case, the Commission ruled in favor of the woman in October 2021 and ordered the two doctors to pay ₹28.5 Lakhs along with a penal interest of 12% per annum if the doctors failed to make the payment within a month. On their part, the doctors claimed that they were cleared by the Maharashtra Medical Council and the National Medical Council, Delhi, and that there was no medical negligence.
They might decide to appeal the Commission’s judgement in a higher court.
But for now, this decision comes as a huge relief to the woman who had waited over 10 years for justice.
Interested in learning more? Check out our explainer: Professional Indemnity Insurance