Allegations fall flat against Pandora’s Box

  • Posted on: March 18, 2021

The patient visited his doctor with complains of abdominal pain. A USG was performed which reported retrocecal appendicitis. The doctor was not satisfied with the finding and advised yet another USG which indicated appendicitis.

Not certain whether or not the reported ailments caused abdominal pain, the doctor referred the patient to a surgeon. Another USG was performed which reported sub-hepatic appendicitis. The surgeon performed a surgery based on this report, and also sent biopsy sample of the omentum to rule out TB.

The HPE reported no evidence of TB or malignancy – the patient suffered from fibrosis with chronic non-specific infection. The surgeon informed the patient that the pain was due to infection in large intestine and it was removed during surgery.

The patient was evidently unhappy with both the radiologists as he sued them and alleged that wrong reporting of appendicitis by them lead to unnecessary surgical intervention. His ailment could have been cured with medicines, claimed the patient.

The Commission rejected patient’s claims. Citing established medical literature, it was observed that several reasons could be considered for any abdominal plain. If the clinical signs and investigations did not lead to definite diagnosis, then opening the abdomen was necessary to find out the cause of pain.

Before dismissing the case against radiologists, the Commission made a relevant and interesting statement: “Patient’s allegation that surgery was unnecessarily performed is not sustainable. Abdomen is a Pandora’s Box. Many times, the appendicular pain gives symptoms of referred pain. Though both the radiologists reported it as appendicitis, it was to be correlated clinically. Thus, the treating surgeon’s clinical assessment with relevant laboratory investigations should be given more credence”.

Source: Order pronounced by National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission on 27th January, 2021.