CHENNAI: After eight years and five surgeries - with no relief - a woman won more than 6.5 lakh as compensation in a case of medical negligence.
V Visalakshi of Kolathur informed the North Chennai district consumer disputes redressal forum that she was in labour pain on August 24, 2008 when her family admitted her to Raghavi Hospital in Mogappair East. Dr Balamani Mugian at the hospital said it would be a normal delivery.
Visalakshi later learned that the doctor had conducted an episiotomy (a surgical cut a doctor makes at the opening of the vagina to help in a difficult delivery). Dr Mugian, however, had made a vaginal wall incision too deep, resulting in a gash in the anal canal. The hospital suppressed the fact while discharging her the next day.
After her discharge, Visalakshi found that the sutured area was secreting pus and faecal matter. Her family then admitted her to SKS Hospital in Anna Nagar West (extension), where she was diagnosed to have undergone a forceps delivery, because of which there was a complete tear of the perineal area (the surface in both males and females between the pubic symphysis and the coccyx) and a wound. On the doctor's advice, she underwent two surgeries to suture the wound.
In the first week of October, Visalakshi again had intense pain. Doctors at CSM Nursing Home in West Mambalam found a fistula extending from the anal wall to the vagina. The nursing home discharged her after 10 days and advised her to undergo another surgery after three months.
Visalakshi issued a legal notice to Raghavi Hospital and Dr Mugian, stating that they were guilty of negligence while performing the surgery, because of which she could not lead a normal life or could bear a child in future. Visalakshi said her husband had to take huge loans to meet her medical expenses. As the hospital rebutted her claims, she moved the consumer disputes redressal forum to seek compensation.
Raghavi Hospital stated that pus formation was normal after an episiotomy. SKS Hospital said they conducted two surgeries to suture the wound as it had not healed and said Visalakshi failed to follow their doctors' advice.
A bench of the consumer forum consisting of president K Jayabalan and member T Kalaiyarasi said Visalakshi developed a recto-vaginal fistula during the episiotomy. Instead of treating her, the doctor and hospital only gave her antibiotics. SKS Hospital was also at fault because its doctors only sutured the infected wound, amounting to negligence of service.
Holding the two hospitals and the doctor guilty of negligence, the bench directed them to pay 1.51 lakh for medical expenses, 5 lakh as compensation and 5,000 as case costs.