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The Supreme Court has ordered that negligence in common parlance means and implies failure to exercise due care, expected of reasonable, prudent person. It was a breach of duty and negligence in law ranging from inadvertence to shameful disregard of safety of others. Negligence is thus a breach of duty or lack of proper care in doing something; in short, it is want of attention and doing something, which a prudent and reasonable man would not do. Negligence in the context of medical profession and or Medical Negligence necessarily calls for a treatment with a difference. To infer rashness or negligence on the part of a professional, in particular a doctor, additional considerations apply. A simple lack of care, an error of judgment or an accident, is not proof of negligence on the part of a medical professional. So long as a doctor follows a practice acceptable to the medical profession of that day, he cannot be held liable for negligence merely because a better alternative course or method of treatment was also available or simply because a more skilled doctor would not have chosen to follow or resort to that practice or procedure which the accused followed. Similarly, when the charge of negligence arises out of failure to use some particular equipment, the charge would fail if the equipment were not generally available at that particular time (that is, the time of the incident) at which it is suggested it should have been used.
Bolam's test applicable in India: The test for determining medical negligence as laid down in Bolam's case holds good in its applicability in India. Gross negligence only amounts to criminal negligence: The word 'gross has to be read into Section 304-A IPC. The word 'gross' has not been used in Section 304A of IPC, yet it is settled that in criminal law negligence or recklessness, to be so held, must be of such a high degree as to be 'gross'. The expression 'rash or negligent act' as occurring in Section 304A of the IPC has to be read as qualified by the word' grossly'.
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