A doctor’s decade-old mistake haunts the hospital

  • Posted on: October 21, 2021

The patient was a known case of congenital hip dislocation (CHD) – her left hip joint was dislocated since birth. A surgery was performed when she was a year and half. At the age of fourteen she discovered that her left leg was short by four inches. She approached another doctor who operated the leg by Illizarov method, but to no avail.

Her knee joint became stiff. The doctor tried to forcibly bend the knee, albeit under anaesthesia. These excessive bending attempts fractured patella. The doctor subsequently plastered her leg, which caused further complications.

Eleven years later, at the age of twenty-five, she visited a hospital where the doctors performed quadricepsplasty – a corrective surgery on the quadriceps femoris muscle and tendon to release adhesions.

The patient continued to experience pain and discomfort while walking despite taking painkillers for about two subsequent years. She visited yet another doctor who opined that the left patella was removed and the procedure performed at the hospital could have been improper.

She sued the hospital blindly believing in the doctor’s unverified opinion.

The Commission however, took its time in careful perusal of medical records, and stated the following:

“The second doctor failed to diagnose the cause of shortening of left leg, but treated the patient by Illizarov method. The insertion of wires and pins lead to muscle damage and stiffness. The record speaks about procedures under anaesthesia performed by him, including plastering the knee joint which further aggravated the matter”.

“The stiffness continued till her age of twenty five when she approached the hospital. From hospital’s clinical and operative notes it is evident that the patella was fragmented and fused. The mode of treatment adopted by the hospital and its doctors is as per the reasonable standard of practice”.

Obviously, the patient’s case was dismissed. Hopefully she understood the reason behind her prolonged discomfort.

Source: Order pronounced by National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission on 14th June, 2021.