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Yrs after patient loses chain, hospital told to compensate
Times of India, February 07, 2019

Hyderabad: Stating that it is the hospital that should stand accountable if a theif steals the gold chain of a patient during the time she was an in-patient at the hospital, a circuit bench of the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commision (NCDRC) directed CC Shroff Memorial Hospital in Barkatpura to pay on such patient a compensation of nearly Rs 1 lakh with a 9 per cent interest. The bench headed by national commission president Justice R K Agrawal passed this order during the circuit bench sitting after hearing complainant A Sudha Ramani, who was admitted in Shroff Hospital for a surgery in April 2010.

The victim claimed that while she had been sedated, someone snatched her gold chain (mangala sutra weighing 35 grams). When her husband, Nagaraj questioned the hospital authorities about the theft, the hospital’s chief medical officer gave him a writtern assurance that they will trace the chain and return it to him or else compensate the cost of the chain by April 29, 2010. But the hospital management failed to do so.

An aggrieved Sudha Ramani had approached the Hyderabad district consumer forum which ordered return of the chain or cash worth its current value. The hospital still did not implement it. It preferred an appeal against this order before the state commission which too upheld the district forum’s order, following which the hospital approached the national consumers commission.

The bench refused to believe the hosptal’s version that the written assurance to compensate was given only after threats from the petitioner’s husband. “You do not deny the fact that Sudha Ramani was admitted in your hospital and also the fact that she lost the gold ornament during the 5 hour period she was unconscious in your hospital. Now you are taking a plea that you agreed to repay only under threat. If you were coerced into give a written undertaking, then you would have definitely lodged a police complaint immediately. You did not do any such thing. That means you owned up the failure of the hospital and your written undertaking to repay the of the gold chain was a bonafied document,” the bench said dismissing the hospital’s plea.

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