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$12,500 for man 'pronounced dead'

Litia Cava
Tuesday, January 30, 2018

A 60-YEAR-OLD man who was administered with wrong medication and was pronounced dead by a doctor at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital (CWMH) in 2013, has been awarded $12,500 by the court.

The plaintiff, Jai Narayan, through his wife Nirmala Wati, filed a lawsuit against the medical superintendent of CWMH, the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Health and the Attorney-General for damages for the pain and suffering he went through because of the negligence of CWM Hospital staff members.

Mr Narayan said he was satisfied with the court's ruling.

"My health is deteriorating day by day and money cannot compensate that," he said.

According to a judgment by Justice Lyone Seneviratne at the High Court in Suva yesterday, Mr Narayan was admitted to CWM Hospital on March 19, 2013, with a testicular swelling and associated fever.

He was diagnosed with epididymo-orchitis and he was administered with penicillin, to which he reacted and collapsed. Justice Seneviratne said from the evidence, the court was of the view that the doctor treating Mr Narayan had not discharged the duty of care expected of a doctor.

"Unlike in any other profession, the degree of responsibility of a doctor towards his or her patient is very much higher."

He said the doctor had failed to discharge that duty to the satisfaction of all concerned.

"After the second plaintiff informed the doctor, even she had not thought it advisable to see the folder and ascertain whether the first plaintiff was allergic to penicillin-based drugs."

For those reasons, Justice Seneviratne said the doctor had not exercised reasonable skill and care towards the first plaintiff.

Justice Seneviratne has ordered the medical superintendent of Colonial War Memorial Hospital (CWMH), the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Health and the Attorney-General to pay the plaintiff $10,000 as damages.

The same defendants have also been ordered to pay the plaintiff $2500 as costs of the action.

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