A sorry saga of an unqualified nursing-home owner, qualified doctor and patient’s death

  • Posted on: July 07, 2021

“This case is a perfect example of malaise which plagues numerous nursing homes run by unscrupulous persons who claim / project themselves as qualified doctors and lure the gullible citizens into their trap, and qualified doctors by associating themselves with such individuals promote such nefarious activities”.

These harsh statements against a nursing home owner and a doctor were made by Delhi Medical Council recently. Perhaps it was due to the manner in which a patient – who eventually died – was treated.

The patient underwent laparoscopic cholecystectomy at the nursing home and developed complications due to duodenal perforation. He was rushed to a higher centre for better management. But he succumbed to complications.

This matter reached the Consumer Commission as patient’s family sued the nursing home and operating doctor.

Surprisingly, the doctor laid all blame on the higher centre in following statements:

“Patient developed complication of duodenal perforation and was immediately referred to the higher centre. Patient’s condition at the time of admission was satisfactory and he was fit for immediate re-exploration surgery, but the doctors at higher centre performed the surgery after two days deliberately, which resulted in patient’s death”.

“While the patient died due to cardiac arrest, the Medical College under influence of patient’s family changed the cause the death as death due to septicaemia consequent upon duodenal perforation following laparoscopic cholecystectomy”.

This matter subsequently reached Delhi Medical Council who made scathing remarks reproduced at the beginning of this story.

Eventually, even the National Consumer Commission agreed with the findings Delhi Medical Council, and observed the following:

“It is pertinent to note as per observations made by Delhi Medical Council, there was no qualified assistant in the surgical team. After cholecystectomy the post-operative care was not as per standards. In the absence of operating surgeon, the patient was monitored by an unqualified person who is also the nursing home owner. Therefore, the duodenal perforation was not diagnosed at early stage but the signs of perforation peritonitis were noticed subsequent morning. The patent was shifted to higher centre at 11.20 AM in critical condition”.

“In our considered view, the proximate cause of patient’s suffering was the failure to diagnose duodenal perforation and failure in duty of care after the laparoscopic cholecystectomy surgery by the operating surgeon”.

The nursing home and operating surgeon were held negligent and ordered to pay ten lakh rupees in compensation.

Source: Order pronounced by National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission on 19th January, 2022.