Case Law

ORDER DATED: 26.04.2018 (STATE CONSUMER DISPUTE REDRESSAL COMMISSION, WEST BENGAL)

FACTS:

The patient named Arup was diagnosed with appendicitis by his GP and hence he visited Midland Nursing Home where Dr. Ray performed laparoscopic appendectomy. The surgery didn’t do any good to Arup. He suffered severe pain after it and visited Dr. Ray again who prescribed some medicines. Even the change in medicines didn’t work and that made Arup change the doctor.

He visited Dr. Banerjee who prescribed medicines, again to no avail. Arup’s condition worsened. Pus and blood started oozing out from the navel. He was scared and shocked at the sight of it. He again changed the doctor and approached Dr. Samaresh who diagnosed umbilical sepsis and performed a laparoscopic surgery. It seemed the ailment didn’t want to leave the patient. Arup was diagnosed with port site abscess and he visited Christian Medical College (CMC) where another surgery was performed. Finally, he was alleviated of the ailment.

ALLEGATIONS:

Having suffered for a long period of time, Arup believed it was the doctors’ fault. He approached State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission and dragged all three doctors who had treated him. It was alleged that:

  • Dr. Ray, in his absence, advised the administration of anaesthesia over the telephone and that was not as per standard of protocol
  • Furthermore, CMC’s diagnosis of port site abscess proved that Dr. Ray had not sterilized the equipment properly
  • It was further alleged that although Dr. Samaresh performed laparoscopic surgery and prescribed medicines, the ailment persisted. And this goes to prove negligence on his part as well. Training his gun on Dr. Banerjee, Arup alleged that despite prescribing medicines, his condition worsened. All the doctors were negligent and they must be punished, concluded the angry patient.

DOCTOR’S DEFENSE:

Dr. Samaresh pointed out that he made an initial and proper diagnosis of umbilical sepsis and after that proceeded with laparoscopic surgery. Moreover, even CMC did not report of any post-surgery wound, which proved that the same had healed completely. Port site infection is a known complication and he can neither be held guilty for it nor could be blamed for what happened with the patient after the first surgery. Doctor Banerjee on his part stated that he made a provisional diagnosis and prescribed the medicines accordingly.

COURT HELD:

It was observed that Dr. Ray advised administration of anaesthesia over the telephone and that was indeed against the standard of protocol. Moreover, he discharged the patient while he still had abdominal pain. It was further observed that Dr. Ray should have taken proper care to prevent the development post laparoscopic port site absence of which indicated lack of proper and reasonable care by him. While Dr. Banerjee and Dr. Samaresh were not found negligent, Dr. Ray and Midland Nursing Home were held negligent and asked to compensate twelve lakh rupees collectively.

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