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Ryland v. Fletcher Doctrine applies: Interim compensation to infant whose thumb was severed : Madras High Court

In Cases of this nature Strict Liability or Ryland Vs. Fletcher Doctrine, to be necessarily applied, Madras High Court observed in the present case and ordered interim compensation to parents whose 14-day old baby girl’s thumb was negligently severed by Nurse.

Socio Legal Corp

An appalling incident was reported in Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu where a new new-born baby girl admitted in Government Rajah Mirasdar Hospital was seen bleeding profusely as a result of her left thumb being negligently severed by a hospital staff nurse.

In Cases of this nature Strict Liability or Ryland Vs. Fletcher Doctrine, necessarily applies, observed Madras High Court and ordered interim compensation to parents whose 14-day old baby girl’s thumb was negligently severed by Nurse.

The doctors had immediately performed surgery to fix the thumb, also a plastic surgery operation was performed in assistance with a Paediatric Surgeon. But the counsel appearing on behalf of the petitioner (here the parents of the infant) contented that despite the surgery performed, the thumb is not properly fixed causing the child to suffer from permanent disability.

The counsel, also prayed before the learned court that the child should be shifted to a Mutli-Speciality hospital so that an attempt could be made to restore the normalcy of the severed thumb. He argued that the parents of the infant had suffered a lot of trauma and mental agony at the sight of watching the severed thumb on the ground while the child was bleeding prolifically.

Lawyers for the Tamil Nadu Government informed the court that an inquiry committee’s report has been sent to the respondent and the parents request for compensation has been forwarded to the Government and the same is under active consideration.

The court held that “The incident taken as such, prima facie shows that there is negligence and hence, some interim compensation must be paid by the Government to the parents of the child. Such a positive response from the Government is expected in a welfare state”.

Accordingly, the court ordered an interim compensation of 75000/- rupees to the parents, within a period of four weeks.

By team SLC, Shashank(Damodaram Sanjivayya National Law University)

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