Case Law: Doctor order to pay Rs 10 Lacs compensation for not paying attention

A labourer named Khan suffered grave injuries in his right leg as he was run over by a tractor. He was rushed to Dr. Rajesh, who simply stitched the wound and performed skin traction, even though he diagnosed fracture of lower right femur. Next day, the patient noticed discolouring in the lower part of his right leg and immediately informed the doctor, who just prescribed some medicines. By the evening, the patient’s condition deteriorated and hence, got himself admitted to a hospital where open fracture of right femur with vascular injury was diagnosed. Eventually, Khan’s right leg had to be amputated.

Dr. Rajesh was sued by Khan and his family, and they alleged that the doctor neither bothered to perform an X-ray of the leg nor conducted any other tests to ascertain its exact condition. It was further alleged that the doctor did not consider the seriousness of open vascular injury and did not provide any treatment for same.

The doctor stated that the treatment provided could not have harmed the patient in such a short time. It was further stated that the severity of patient’s wound could have increased while the patient was taken to the hospital. Even the hospital where the patient’s leg was amputated did not note anything adverse on the treatment provided by him, concluded Dr. Rajesh.

After carefully studying the medical records and other documents presented by both parties, the National Commission ruled that Dr. Rajesh was negligent. It was observed that the areas marked as ‘final diagnoses and ‘surgical procedure’ were left blank which proved that the doctor did not ascertain the exact condition of patient’s leg and did not perform any procedure. Had the doctor diagnosed vascular injury he would’ve referred the patient to a relevant specialist. The Commission further observed that the doctor did not even check distal pulse to confirm if the patient suffered from vascular injury or not.

The Commission finally observed that no attention was paid by the doctor in spite of repeated requests made by the patient with regards to discolouring of the skin and Dr. Rajesh was ordered to pay Rs 10 Lacs as compensation.

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