24 Jan 2024

Daily practice questions for CLAT - (24 Jan 2024)

Failure of a doctor and hospital to discharge this obligation is essentially a tortious liability. A tort is a civil wrong (right in rem) as against a contractual obligation (right in personam) – a breach that attracts judicial intervention by way of awarding damages. Thus, a patient's right to receive medical attention from doctors and hospitals is essentially a civil right. The relationship takes the shape of a contract to some extent because of informed consent, payment of fee, and performance of surgery/providing treatment, etc. while retaining essential elements of the tort. In the cases of Dr. Laxman Balkrishna Joshi vs. Dr. Trimbark Babu Godbole and Anr., AIR 1969 SC 128 and A.S.Mittal v. the State of U.P., AIR 1989 SC 1570, it was laid down that when a doctor is consulted by a patient, the doctor owes to his patient certain duties, which are: (a) duty of care in deciding whether to undertake the case, (b) duty of care in deciding what treatment to give, and (c) duty of care in the administration of that treatment. A breach of any of the above duties may give a cause of action for negligence and the patient may on that basis recover damages from his doctor. In the aforementioned case, the apex court interalia observed that negligence has many manifestations – it may be active negligence, collateral negligence, comparative negligence, concurrent negligence, continued negligence, criminal negligence, gross negligence, hazardous negligence, active and passive negligence, willful or reckless negligence, or negligence per se. Black's Law Dictionary defines negligence per se as “conduct, whether of action or omission, which may be declared and treated as negligence without any argument or proof as to the particular surrounding circumstances, either because it is in violation of the statute or valid Municipal ordinance or because it is so palpably opposed to the dictates of common prudence that it can be said without hesitation or doubt that no careful person would have been guilty of it. As a general rule, the violation of public duty, enjoined by law for the protection of person or property, constitutes.”

Question1:- Elisha, a mentally sound major, was suffering from X Syndrome for which she was taking treatment from Dr. Harsh. She was admitted to the hospital where she signed the consent form for diagnostic and practical laparoscopy surgery. While Elisha was unconscious, Dr. Harsh came out of the operation theatre and took Elisha’s husband’s consent for a hysterectomy, and performed the same. Elisha moved the court for medical negligence. Decide.
  • A. Dr. Harsh is liable because there was no emergency.
  • B. Dr. Harsh is liable because the consent was only for diagnostic and operative laparoscopy.
  • C. Dr. Harsh is liable because Elisha was neither a minor nor incapacitated.
  • D. All of the above.
Answer is C is correct. The case of Samira Kohli vs. Dr. Prabha Manchanda and Ors. discusses the importance of obtaining informed consent. In this case, the court held that consent given for diagnostic and operative laparoscopy does not amount to consent for hysterectomy. The appellant (Elisha in the present case) was neither a minor nor incapacitated, she was a competent adult which is why there was no question of someone else giving consent on her behalf and as there was no emergency. Therefore, the correct answer is option C.
Question2:- Kiara was diagnosed with a serious medical condition and was admitted to ABC Hospital. The nurse injected a solution, after which Kiara’s condition deteriorated and he was shifted to XYZ hospital, where he passed away. It was later realised that Kiara’s death was due to the overdose of the solution. Determine.
  • A. The ABC hospital authorities will be held liable for medical negligence
  • B. The ABC hospital authorities will not be held liable for medical negligence
  • C. The XYZ hospital authorities will be held liable for medical negligence
  • D. Nobody will be liable for medical negligence
Answer is A is correct. In the case of Spring Meadows Hospital and Anr. v. Harjol Ahluwalia, the court held the hospital authorities liable for gross medical negligence wherein a kid died due to the injection of a solution by the nurse of the hospital who injected the solution negligently. Therefore, the correct answer is option A.
Question3:- In a case where the doctors negligently failed to remove the scissors used during the operation from the stomach of the patient, which of the following doctrines will apply?
  • A. Res Ipsa Loquitur
  • B. Damnum Sine Injuria
  • C. Respondeat Superior
  • D. Qui Facit Per Alium Facit Per Se
Answer is A is correct. In a case where the doctors negligently left scissors in the stomach of the patient during the operation, the doctrine of Res Ipsa Loquitur will apply, which means things speak for themselves. Damnum Sine Injuria means damage without injury. Respondeat Superior means let the master be responsible. Qui Facit per Alium Facit Per Se means he who acts through another does the act himself. Respondeat Superior and Qui Facit per Alium Facit Per Se are the legal maxims used in the principle of vicarious liability. Therefore, the correct answer is option A.
Question4:- Who among the following can be made responsible for medical negligence?
  • A. The nurse
  • B. The doctor
  • C. The hospital authorities
  • D. All of the above.
Answer is D is correct. In a case of medical negligence, the nurse, the doctor, and the hospital authorities can be held liable depending upon the facts and circumstances of the case. Therefore, Option D is the correct answer.
Question5:- Identify the veracity of the understated statements based on the information provided in the passage.

Statement I: The death of a patient after the doctors make the best efforts to save him amounts to medical negligence.

Statement II: The death of a patient who dies after doctors’ resort to the most effective way of treatment out of many ways does not amount to medical negligence.
  • A. Statement I is correct and Statement II is incorrect.
  • B. Statement I is incorrect and Statement II is correct.
  • C. Both the statements are correct.
  • D. None of the statements are correct.
Answer is B is correct. It is a well-settled position of law that in order to make a doctor liable for medical negligence, there must exist negligence or lack of duty of care on the part of the doctor. If a doctor has given his best to redeem the patient out of his suffering and tried the most effective way with the view of saving his life and the same did not yield the desired result, this may not amount to medical negligence. Therefore, the correct answer is option B.