“As a matter of fact, when a patient is admitted to the highly commercial hospital … a thorough check up of the patient is done by the hospital authorities, it is the Institute which selects after the examination of the patient that he suffers from what malady and who is the best doctor who can attend, except when the patient or the family members desire to be treated by a particular doctor or the surgeon as the case may be. Normally, the private hospitals have a panel of doctors in various specialities and it is they who choose who is to be called. It is very difficult for the patient to give any detail that which doctor treated the patient and whether the doctor was negligent or the nursing staff was negligent. It is very difficult for such patient or his relatives to implead them as parties in the claim petition…We cannot place such a heavy burden on the patient or the family members/relatives to implead all those doctors who have treated the patient or the nursing staff to be impleaded as party. It will be a difficult task for the patient or his relatives to undertake this searching enquiry from the hospital and sometimes hospital may not co-operate. It may give such details and sometimes may not give the details... The burden cannot be placed on the patient to implead all those treating doctors or the attending staff of the hospital as a party so as to substantiate his claim. Once a patient is admitted in a hospital it is the responsibility of the Hospital to provide the best service and if it is not, then hospital cannot take shelter under the technical ground that the concerned surgeon or the nursing staff, as the case may be, was not impleaded, therefore, the claim should be rejected on the basis of non-joinder of necessary parties. In fact, once a claim petition is filed and the claimant has successfully discharged the initial burden that the hospital was negligent, as a result of such negligence the patient died, then in that case the burden lies on the hospital and the concerned doctor who treated that patient that there was no negligence involved in the treatment. Since the burden is on the hospital, they can discharge the same by producing that doctor who treated the patient in defence to substantiate their allegation that there was no negligence. In fact, it is the hospital who engages the treating doctor thereafter it is their responsibility. The burden is greater on the Institution/ hospital than that of the claimant.”

[Extracted from Smt. Savita Garg v. The Director, National Heart Institute (2004) 8 SCC 56].

Negligence, as a tort, is said to have been committed when the following is/are established:

Which of the following propositions is incorrect as regards negligence?

Which of the following propositions is correct as regards the liability of medical practitioners:

Which of the following is a seminal judgment on medical negligence in India?

Now, a large number of private hospitals, nursing homes and clinics have emerged. In view of the good reputation they have built, patients go there for treatment in large numbers. These hospitals provide the medical treatment to those patients through doctors employed by them or by doctors who work there on some arrangement. These hospitals raise the bills for the fees and medical treatment provided to those patients by all such doctors. In such circumstances, if the patient suffers injury due to negligence of the doctors, then: