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IMS.Present: De Sampayo A.J.
HUYBEBTZ t>. SILVA449—G R. Batnapura, 12,892.
“Medical Officer "—Provincial Surgeon is not “ medical officer " within.
meaning of “ Genera! Orders Charge for Consultation—
Attendance on Government servant,
A Provincial Surgeon is not included in the term “ medicalofficer" as used in the “General Order" which prescribes the feeswhich a medical officer may ' charge for attendance on Governmentservants.
The General Order does not prescribe a rate for consultations.
If a doctor attends at the request of another' doctor, eventhough the regular attendant may not be present, he is a con-sultant, and. entitled to his fees as such.
fjp HE facts are set out in the judgment.
V. Grenier, for the appellant.
No appearance for the respondent.
December 11, 1913. De Sampayo A.Jh—
The plaintiff, who at the time of the action was Provincial Surgeonof the Province of Sabaragamuwa, sues the defendant, who was aSub-Inspector of Police stationed at Batnapura, for medical feesdue in respect of the defendant’s child. It seem6 the child wasseriously ill. with convulsions and had been attended by Dr. Nair,who was at the time the Assistant District Medical Officer ofBatnapura. The plaintiff was called in in consultation on January10, and he also paid ten more visits between January 10 andJanuary 17, and he now claims Bs. 281 as consultation fees at therate of Bs. 21 a visit. The defence is that after the first day theplaintiff took entire charge of the case, and, therefore, was not.entitled to anything more than the ordinary fees for medicalattendance, and also that, the defendant being a Governmentservant, the defendant and his family were entitled to medicalattendance at the rate of Bs. 2.50 for the first visit, and at the rateof Be. 1.50 for every subsequent visit. The Commissioner upheldthe defence in both these respects, and in the result gave judgmentfor the plaintiff only for the sum of Bs. 37.50, which the defendantwas willing to pay and had brought into Court. Whether theplaintiff was only a consultant, or after the first visit took charge ofthe case,'is a question of fact. The Commissioner has held that hetook charge of the case himself, for the reason that Dr. Nair was notpresent at the subsequent visits. I do not myself think that this isa crucial test. If a doctor attends at the request of another doctor,
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even though the regular attendant may not be present, I shouldsay the doctor so oalled in must be considered to be a consultant,and entitled to his fees as such. The actual evidence given by theplaintiff is not disbelieved, and I find from it that the plaintiff wasasked by Dr. Nair to continue to visit the patient. This is probable,because Dr. Nair, in consequence of his official duties, is said to havebeen absent from hiB station a good deal. As a matter of jact, itis admitted that he was away from Ratnapura on the 12th, 14th,and 16th January. Another notable fact is that Dr. Nair admitsthat he occasionally attended the patient since the plaintiff was firstcalled in, thus showing that the plaintiff had not taken completecharge of the case. Assuming, then, that the plaintiff was consul-tant throughout the days in question, the next point is whether heis entitled to charge more than the rate chargeable to Governmentservants by the General Orders mentioned in .the case. It seems tome that, the General Orders referred to are confined, so far as freeattendance or attendance on limited fees is concerned, to “ medicalofficers,” which appears to be a technical term in the Departmentand to exclude such officers as the Provincial Surgeons. I find, fromreference to the Civil List which discloses the internal organizationof the Department, that Provincial Surgeons stand by themselves,and that the officers called ‘‘ medical officers ” occupy a differentposition and are classified according to certain grades, so that whenthe General Orders in question relating to fees speak of ‘‘ medicalofficers,” I am inclined to hold that Provincial Surgeons are notincluded in the term. Moreover, as the Commissioner himself notes,the rule regards, medical attendance only, and there is nothingconcerning consultation. Considering the reason of the concessiongranted to Government servants in the General Orders, it seems tome that consultations were intentionally excluded from the Orders.
Coming now to the question of the rate which should be allowed,there was no agreement between the parties, except that theplaintiff when asked by the defendant on one occasion what hewould charge remarked that his bill would be heavy. It is,however, open to the Court to fix what is reasonable. One medicalwitness called in the case considered that Rs. 10.50 as consultingfee was no't unreasonable, and the Commissioner himself allows forthe first visit a sum of Rs. 21, which the defendant was willing to'pay, although- he thinks that Rs. 10.50 would have been sufficient.
I think a fair amount would be Rs. 115.50, being the aggregate ofthe fees at the uniform rate of Rs. 10.50 a visit. I accordingly alterthe judgment and enter judgment for that amount in favour of theplaintiff.
As regards costs, I would order'that each party beat his own costsin the Court of Requests, but would allow the plaintiff the costs ofappeal.
HUYBERTZ v. SILVA