Mumbai doctor to pay Rs4 lakh compensation after toddler loses palm

19 March, 2016

Eight years after her toddler son lost his right palm because of alleged medical negligence, a Kurla resident will get Rs4.10 lakh as compensation from the doctor.

The additional consumer forum for Mumbai suburban district has ordered Dr Subhash Prabhu of a hospital in Kurla West to pay Rs 4 lakh to the mother of the toddler, Zeenat Khan, as compensation and an additional amount of Rs10, 000 as litigation cost.

According to her complaint, June 16, 2008, Zeenat had taken her son to the hospital as he had temperature. The doctors diagnosed the problem as acute pneumonia with sepsis, and accordingly admitted the child as an in-ward patient and started treatment. Four days later, the complainant noticed that blood was oozing out of the spot where saline had been injected, and she informed the staff nurse about it. The complainant alleged that the staff did not take note of the complaint and asked her to wait. She further alleged that the staff and resident doctor did not take any steps even after right hand of her child started blackening.

Dr Prabhu responded to the complaint and refuted the allegations of negligence, and maintained that the child was treated properly and universally accepted protocol was followed in the treatment. The doctor submitted that since the pneumonia was detected, the child was administered intravenous fluid and broad spectrum antibiotics right from the first day of his admission, and the child was steady till June 20 – four days after admission.

The doctor said that on June 21, child started complaining of pain and discoloration of finger and thumb of right hand, and on the next day the registrar of the hospital diagnosed the problem as dry gangrene. He submitted that the complainant was advised to shift the child as the hospital did not have facility of pediatric surgery.

The consumer forum, however, did not find substance in the doctor’s claim that proper care was taken while treating the child. “We are of the clear opinion that as soon as the doctor observed symptoms of discoloration of right hand finger there was an urgent need to remove the clot or obstruction in artery before local tissues died,” observed the bench of forum president SS Vyavahare and member SV Kalal. It held the doctor guilty of negligence in treating the child on the ground of failing to take required care which any other medical officer could have taken in attending circumstances.