#LegallySpeaking: Medicolegal Tip
'In case of unconscious/emergency patient - Doctors/hospitals are not required to find wife/son to take consent'
Facts of the case:
The patient met with a roadside accident, and thereafter, the traffic policeman gave blow on the patient's right ear. The patient started bleeding from the right ear. Looking at the critical condition of the patient, the local health center referred him to the District Hospital, but instead the patient was taken to the hospital, admitted and operated upon by the doctor (OP).
Patient's allegation/s of medical negligence:
It was alleged that the doctor (OP) had not taken any consent from the patient before conducting the surgery.
It was pointed that consent was given by the patient's brother-in-law.
Findings of the court:
- The court held that as the patient was unconscious at the time of admission, consent given by his brother-in-law was sufficient.
- The court observed that negligence could not be imputed for not obtaining consent from wife or son of the patient as "the hospital was not required to know whether complainant's (patient's) wife and son were available or not. Merely because consent has not been obtained from wife or son of the complainant, no negligence on the part of OP (doctor) can be imputed in operating after taking consent of brother-in-law of the complainant."
- Hence, the court did not hold the doctor (OP) negligent.
Note: Note: The objective of the #LegallySpeaking initiative is to spread awareness about the medicolegal implications of commonly encountered scenarios in a clinician's daily practice.