Max asked to pay woman Rs. 4 Lakh for post-op problems

09 September, 2014

GURGAON: September 7, 2014: After a six-year legal battle, a district consumer court asked Max in Gurgaon and its orthopaedic surgeon to together pay a 65-year-old woman Rs 4 lakh plus interest for a surgery in 2008 that led to her left arm being partially disabled.

Shakuntla Wadhwa, a resident of Shivaji Nagar in Old Gurgaon, fractured her shoulder bone in an accident in January 2008. She was taken to Max where a surgery was performed on her left shoulder on January 14. During the surgery, a screw washer was left behind in her bone that restricted the movement of her left arm.

She was discharged on January 17. "But her problem worsened. The doctor didn't get an x-ray done after the surgery, so no one knew about it till we visited another hospital where the doctor advised an x-ray. This was done on February 22, and the screw washer was discovered. But by then, there was no way it could be extracted," said Shakuntla's husband N C Wadhwa.

Shakuntla and her husband filed a case in the consumer court in September 2008, demanding Rs 10-lakh compensation from the hospital. The court pronounced its judgment this week, asking the hospital and doctor to pay within 30 days Rs 2 lakh each to Shakuntla along with an interest of 9% from the time of filing of the complaint. Together with the interest for six years, she should get Rs 6.7 lakh as compensation.

But Max countered the charges, saying it would challenge the order. "The judgment passed by the consumer district disposal forum, Gurgaon (court) is in contradiction by itself. On one hand, it says there was no medical negligence and carelessness of the doctor, and on the other it awarded compensation for long mental and physical sufferings. We are reviewing the judgment and seeking legal opinion to file an appeal," a spokesperson for Max said.

The hospital had told the court that such risks are prevalent in surgeries conducted on elderly patients. "An informed consent was given by the complainant, acknowledging that she understood the procedure and the potential risks involved," the hospital's counsel had argued before the district consumer court.

But in May 2010, the medical board of the Civil Hospital in Gurgaon gave a report saying the woman's left arm developed disability to the extent of 40% because "either the doctor was inexperienced or he didn't take due care," N C Wadhwa claimed.

Max, however, dismissed the medical board report. "The report was not given by a specialized surgeon as a government hospital has never been managed by such surgeons who are only available in super-speciality hospitals like ours," the hospital's counsel had said.