When docs err on side of recklessness

24 June, 2016

NEW DELHI: The botched-up foot surgery at Fortis Hospital is no one-off instance of medical negligence. Similar incidents have been reported at several top hospitals earlier, too, with instances of leaving behind a piece of cloth or even a scissor in a patient's stomach not entirely unheard of. Experts blame lack of planning and proper communication among the personnel participating in a surgery for such negligence. 

"Often, the doctor who assesses the patient and performs clinical examination doesn't operate on the patient, but just oversees it. This hinders planning," said a doctor on the condition of anonymity. Another doctor said surgery was a teamwork where all personnel involved had to work in cohesion. "Complications or goof-ups happen when this team spirit is missing. Also, in private sector while the top surgeons get paid heavily, the nurses and operation theatre (OT) technicians are often underpaid," he added.

"Error can happen anywhere and by anyone. The case of actor Sridevi's mother, who was operated on the wrong side of the brain at Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan, is a case in point. The only difference is that there the rate of accountability and action against errors is higher than in our country," said an AIIMS doctor.