7.5L fine on doc for surgery goof-up

22 June, 2016

Pune: The district consumer court has directed an orthopaedic surgeon of a prominent hospital off Paud Road in Kothrud to pay Rs7.5 lakh compensation to a senior citizen for medical negligence while conducting a knee surgery. 

The surgical process had resulted in permanent disability of the right leg of the complainant, Dinkar Ganpat Maral, a resident of Jijai Nagari in Kothrud. Dr Vilas Jog of Jog Hospital had conducted the surgery on July 20, 2011 for removing a baker's cyst from Maral's right knee. A nerve was cut during the surgery and could not be restored to its normal function despite a second surgery later in a larger hospital. 

Maral, a retired employee of an automotive company in Pimpri, was later certified by a civil surgeon at Aundh general hospital as suffering from 42% physical disability. He cannot move his right leg, nor has any sensation in it.

The consumer court bench of V P Utpat and Kshitija Kulkarni held Dr Jog liable for medical negligence and deficient service in a ruling on June 16, relying on an expert report by neurosurgeon Dr Sudhir Kothari. The latter certified on September 1, 2011 that Maral's case was of "severe right common peroneal nerve lesion with no reinnervation seen as yet". The bench partly allowed the complaint by fixing the compensation at Rs7.5 lakh instead of Rs15 lakh, as Maral had demanded. 

Dr Jog told TOI, "I have not yet gone through the consumer court's order and I am not fully aware about the details. I shall consult my lawyer on the available legal remedies, including an appeal." 


Maral had approached Dr Jog on June 6, 2011 for the knee treatment. A sonography revealed the cyst and he was advised to undergo surgery. It was found during post-surgery examination that Maral could neither move the toe of his right leg, nor could he lift his foot. He was advised to use a foot-drop splint and an electrical muscle stimulation procedure, but they did not help.


Later, Maral consulted neurosurgeon Dr Kothari, who conducted an electromyography test and found that the nerve of the leg was cut. Maral later underwent another surgery at a larger hospital, but to no avail.


In his response to court's notice, Dr Jog denied medical negligence and claimed that Maral was informed, while taking his consent, that certain side-effects might appear after surgery. The response denied most claims made by Maral. 


The bench observed in its ruling, "Whenever a patient approaches a surgeon, he/she expects that the surgery would be performed with utmost precaution and skill. It appears from the facts that while removing the cyst, the nerve was cut and never reunited. This indicates that due to the surgery at the hands of the opposite party (Dr Jog), the complainant has become handicap and his disability certificate to the extent of 42% issued by the civil surgeon is corroborating this fact."