Healthcare workers face enormous problems as a result of the rapid
advancement of technology and the rising demands of patients. On addition,
patients are well-versed in their rights. Disputes and disagreements are
commonplace in the medical field. Patients' dissatisfaction with their doctor or
the consequences of their therapy is a typical source of conflict.
A formal complaint may be filed if a conflict cannot be resolved amicably at the
nascent stage, however litigation is not always necessary. Under tort law,
medical malpractice victims and their jurisdictions can seek compensation for
their losses. A lawsuit for negligence, on the other hand, has a long and
difficult path to success. The method appears to be time-consuming and
A fundamental principle of jurisprudence is that "justice delayed is justice
In any civilization, a speedy justice system needs to be a
priority. Civil disagreements, commercial disputes, familial disputes, and so on
are common in a culture like this. Approaching the courts is the best way to
address these conflicts. Because of this, the number of instances in India is
approximately 4.4 crores and has grown by 19 percent in the last year alone. The
best approach, according to this theory, was to use an ADR process.
The blog focuses on healthcare concerns and disputes, as well as the Alternative
Dispute Resolution (hereinafter, ADR) method plays a major role because of the
doctor-patient dispute. Article begins with a brief introduction of ADR and
medical procedures, then goes on to discuss the use of ADR and make a few
allusions to court decisions. As a last point, it explains how the medical
difficulties and ADR might be applied in practice.
Medical and ADR Issue
The continuing healthcare crisis in many countries, along with India, is the
subject of constant debate. The healthcare system and the overall economy of a
country are being impacted by this catastrophe. Patients' displeasure with the
healthcare business is a direct result of these costs being passed on to them as
Here, ADR, which is cost-effective and quick, plays a significant role. ADR can
also be referred to as a settlement outside of court. It's a method of resolving
a disagreement outside of court. ADR techniques, such as arbitration and
mediation, are now being used by a wide range of healthcare providers to reduce
the enormous legal costs.
Disputes between doctors and patients are common in the healthcare industry.
Disputes in the healthcare industry are caused by cases of medical negligence or
malpractice and confidence, pharmaceutical error, misdiagnosis, breach of trust
infections, as well as many medical differences. Unexpected events and
catastrophes occur at an alarming pace in the healthcare sector, some of which
may be preventable and can be remedied, while others are the result of medical
According to https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/patient-safety,
dangerous medical practices cause injury to millions of patients and the death
of 2.6 million people each year. Unsafe medical care kills an average of five
patients per minute worldwide. A dispute in the healthcare industry can result
in a physician's licence being revoked or questioned, which could have a
negative impact on the physician's ability to practise medicine. At a cost to
both sides, it's an emotional roller coaster for everyone concerned.
When it comes to health care contracts, including such insurance policies,
employment agreements, or disputes between payers and providers, the party who
has been harmed by a breach of contract may pursue an in personam action even
against party responsible. Arbitration can also be used to resolve healthcare
contract disputes in which precise fulfilment of a contractual duty is required.
Depending on the severity of the fraud claims, malpractice cases in the medical
industry may be mentioned to arbitration. Arbitration, it was found in the "A.
Ayyasamy v. A. Paramasivam (2016)" case, could only be used to settle minor
claims or frivolous frauds. As a result, it is clear that the precise form of
the serious worry claim cannot be resolved by arbitration and therefore must be
referred to the court itself, because it has to be in the public realm as well
as within the populace's concern.
The "Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996," governs arbitration. The
antagonism is resolved by a neutral arbitrator who delivers an unprejudiced
pre-arrangement in the disagreement in an irrevocable procedure. Arbitration can
resolve certain healthcare conflicts, but it cannot resolve all of them.
Physicians and hospital staff have a legal obligation to provide the best
possible care to the patient.
In addition, "the doctor-patient relationship is an implied contract" because
there are two parties involved, and the payment is in the form of compensation
for the service, i.e. "treatment". It is composed of both contractual and
In mediation, doctors are encouraged to take proper care, hospitals become
better cautious, training programmes for the workforce are undertaken, enhanced
as well as remedial therapy for the patient is offered. The process of mediation
has been proven to be an effective means of resolving disagreements more quickly
Medical Disputes and Permanent Lok Adalat
The Lok Adalat forum was developed by the Indian judicial system as an
alternative dispute resolution (ADR) forum to lessen the burden on the court
system and facilitate the resolution of disputes. Disputes in pre-litigation or
litigation can also be addressed to Lok Adalat for out-of-court resolution and
compromise, which really is a forum where even the parties can agree to
Under "Section 22A of the Legal Services Authority Act, 1987 (the PSU)," a
service at a hospital or dispensary can be considered a PSU, making it feasible
for the Lok Adalat forum to hear and settle a medical dispute. While both
parties have agreed to settle the case outside of court, the sitting judge might
send the current medical disputes to the Permanent Lok Adalat.
"The medical sectoral disputes which can be resolved by the Permanent Lok Adalat
include disputes ranging from medical negligence to Medi-claims insurance."
Using Lok Adalats to resolve medical disputes saves time and money by avoiding
the formality of going to court.
Because Lok Adalat has become so effective at resolving disagreements, it should
be used regularly to settle medical disputes. This will reduce the effort of
litigation while also allowing a huge number of medical disputes to be resolved
ADR does not have to be viewed as a panacea for resolving medical conflict;
rather, it should be viewed as a venue for bringing the conflicting parties
together and finding a cooperative solution early on. Adopting the ADR approach
over litigation as a means of resolving conflicts has been recommended by the
Supreme Court of India.
A Supreme Court ruling Food Corporation of India vs Joginderpal Mohinderpal
 said that Arbitration has enormous urgency today when there has
been an explosion of litigation in the Courts of law constituted by the
In the case of Afcons Infrastructure v. Cherian Varkey Construction (2010)
, the apex court emphasised the importance of mediation, especially in
commercial matters, and observed that this type of ADR is ideal for parties
facing complex issues that they are willing to resolve through negotiations. It
will be difficult to change from litigation to ADR in the healthcare industry in
India, due to cultural and linguistic differences, as well as a wide
distribution of inequities.
Six flaws in court adjudication were recognised by Justice R V Raveendran:
- Delay in resolving the issue,
- uncertainty about the outcome,
- rigidity in the result/solution,
- high expense,
- difficulty enforcing, and hostile environment are all factors to be
According to Jimmy Carter, Unless both sides win, no agreement can be
permanent. In the medical sector, ADR approaches can lead to a win-win
situation in which both parties' interests are protected.
In light of our findings, we believe that ADR can serve as the most efficient
and effective tool for resolving medical sector disputes in the present and the
future, subject to the specifics of the claims and losses involved. The ADR
method can be used to mediate disputes that take place in person. The medical
system needs to develop a holistic approach to resolving disputes.
However, a shift in healthcare policy is needed so that hospitals are equipped
with dispute resolution mechanisms and a grievance redressal unit to help
resolve conflicts. There has been too much use of adversarial battle in
conflicts between people and organisations. We can demonstrate that conflict can
be addressed and justice served by healers and peacemakers through mediation.
Written By: Adv.Shashwata Sahu
, LL.M. KIIT School of Law