Broken hand breaks patient’s heart!

  • Posted on: November 02, 2016

Stuck between a rock and a hard place, a doctor discovers the vulnerability of his profession in a case where a patient’s broken hand can’t be medically treated, and the patient sues him!

Dharmendra Yadav met with an unfortunate accident that gravely injured his right hand. His elbow joint and the bones were displaced, muscles were badly lacerated and the hand was literally hanging! Not wasting any time, he approached Dr. Gupta who hospitalised him, gave pain killers, relevant antibiotics and an injection for tetanus.

The doctor took an x-ray and after thoroughly studying the report, he gave a frank opinion to the patient that the injury was quite serious and the chances of a full recovery were slim. However, not the one to give up, the doctor continued treatment – he placed a POP slab with elevation but without plaster casting, and advised Dharmendra for active/passive finger movement. The doctor also advised blood transfusion, but due to non-availability for correction of hypovolemic shock, IV fluids and Hemaccel was administered.

Fearing a permanent loss of his right hand, the patient took discharge and approached other hospitals for different opinions. Even the hospitals he approached gave the same opinion given by Dr. Gupta.

With a broken hand and a shattered heart, the patient approached court of law alleging that Dr. Gupta was least interested in treating him and that he did not plaster the injured right hand, which could have made full recovery possible. He further vented out to the court that he had to incur expenses at other hospitals for treatment, and pleaded for justice and compensation for his troubles.

The court, as always, relied on evidence presented before it by the doctor and patient. Stating that “delay in applying plaster in such cases is not negligence because when there is soft tissue injury, plaster could not be applied immediately to avoid any gangrenous changes”, the court concluded that the treatment given by doctor was as per standard norms and hence did not find any negligence on his part.

Poor patient. Though he could not save his hand, thought he’d be able to mend some pieces of his broken heart.