The Kerala HC just lately noticed that “A medical skilled can’t be held liable just because issues went unsuitable from mischance or misfortune.” 

[Philip Thomas and Ors v State of Kerala Ors.] 

The Kerala Excessive Courtroom just lately held that a physician can’t be held liable just because issues went unsuitable as a result of mischance or misfortune. He can solely be held liable if the affected person has died due to the direct results of the physician’s act. 

Justice Kauser Edappagath noticed that the demise of each affected person can’t be blamed on the physician and be termed as medical negligence. 


The Courtroom defined that there must be enough proof to accuse a medical skilled of his act, resulting in any type of negligence. The demise must be a ‘proximate’ or ‘direct’ results of the act, to be termed as negligent and an act resulting in legal legal responsibility. 

It’s pertinent to notice that, a mere accident and untoward incident or an error of judgment can’t be termed negligence per se is what that Courtroom mentioned. 

Within the judgment acknowledged, it was mentioned that “A medical skilled can’t be held liable just because issues went unsuitable from mischance or misfortune. A mere deviation from regular skilled observe shouldn’t be essentially negligence. Nor may mere accident or untoward incident be termed negligence, additionally an error of judgment shouldn’t be negligence per se.”

The decide highlighted the truth that docs are volunteers of threat takers. They cope with the ‘most intricate, delicate, and sophisticated machine on earth- the human physique.” 

It was noticed that any medical intervention on such a ‘extremely compound’ machine carries inherent dangers and there are at all times excessive possibilities that the medical therapy doesn’t go because it was deliberate. 

The decide defined the occasions when circumstances go unsuitable. He mentioned “When issues go unsuitable, it isn’t at all times the fault of the physician. A complication by itself doesn’t represent negligence. There’s a huge distinction between an adversarial or untoward occasion and negligence. Nonetheless, there’s a rising tendency to accuse the physician of an adversarial or untoward occasion.” 

He additional proceeded, imparting that whereas coping with such instances of medical negligence, the court docket ought to observe and comprehend the steadiness between the physician’s autonomy to evaluate the situations of the affected person, together with recognizing the complexity of the human physique, the inexactness of medical science and scopes of inevitable errors that might happen whereas judging the situation of the affected person. 

The HC famous “Nonetheless, whereas coping with legal prosecution for medical negligence, the trial courts typically ignore these rules. The subject material of those appeals is one such typical case.” 

The Courtroom clarified and emphasised the proof, or proof whereas convicting a medical skilled for medical negligence. The prosecution should show culpable and gross negligence past an affordable doubt.  

The decide defined that the proof must be enough sufficient to indicate that the physician did not do one thing which no abnormal medical skilled would have did not do. 

The Courtroom famous that there was a rising tendency of medical practitioners being accused by folks after adversarial and unlucky incidents, inflicting skilled and emotional harm to such medical practitioners. 

“Nothing might be extra professionally damaging and emotionally draining than being arrayed as an accused in any such motion. A surgeon, underneath worry of dealing with legal prosecution within the occasion of failure for no matter reason- whether or not as a result of his fault or not- can not carry out at his finest,” the court docket acknowledged. 

The case witnessed the demise of a 37-year-old girl, who died submit a sterilization process by laparoscopy within the yr 2006. After the surgical procedure, she was put underneath oxygen as a result of respiratory issues. Although she was shifted into a distinct hospital for skilled administration, she handed away. 

Her uncle filed a medical negligence case in opposition to the medical staff, concerned within the operation. 

The decrease court docket sentenced the accused to bear easy imprisonment of 1 yr, underneath part 304 of the IPC, and easy imprisonment of three months underneath part 201 of the IPC. This provoked the accused to strategy the Excessive Courtroom. 

The HC, after observing the fabric on report, concluded that the staff of medical practitioners had achieved their finest to avoid wasting the lifetime of the deceased, and there was no enough proof to help the direct or proximate reason for demise by. 

The Courtroom, subsequently concluded that the case of medical negligence wouldn’t stand in opposition to the accused. Therefore, the Excessive Courtroom put aside the trial court docket conviction within the case and acquitted the appellant-medical practitioners.