Cardiologist suffers heart attack, attacks the surgeon in vain

  • Posted on: April 27, 2023

The patient, a cardiologist, consulted the surgeon with complains of back pain. The surgeon performed surgery after which the cardiologist-patient suffered two heart attacks.

He was rushed to another hospital, and from there to a higher centre. Thankfully, the cardiac complications were brought under control.

Having recuperated from his heart ailments, the cardiologist sued the surgeon and hurled a barrage of allegations.

i. OT and post-operative details were not recorded
ii. Abnormal ECG findings were ignored
iii.The doctor left for a pleasure trip immediately after surgery, leaving care at the hands of other clueless doctors
iv. A competent cardiologist was not assigned when complications arose

The surgeon was not intimidated by these allegations. He stated that every pre-operative protocol was followed and surgery was performed after obtaining an informed consent.

A neurosurgeon and an anaesthetist were consulted prior to the surgery. Chest X-ray was taken and ECG was also performed – all reports were normal.

Except for the history of borderline hypertension which was well controlled with medications and the fact that patient was a smoker, there were no other risk factors for coronary artery disease. There was no history of asthma or COPD, diabetes or renal dysfunction. Every detail was corroborated by initial notes made by neurosurgery resident doctor.

The surgeon further stated that the patient had earlier undergone excision of facial lipoma under general anaesthesia without any major cardiac complication. He had also undergone knee replacement surgery, which was a major surgery under spinal anaesthesia, without cardiac complications.

“The patient being a senior cardiologist expected VIP treatment from the surgeon and staff. However, established procedures were followed in treating him which is followed for treating other patients as well. This probably resulted in hurting his ego”, concluded the visibly irate doctor.

The Commission accepted surgeon’s defence and observed that:

“It is pertinent to note that the patient being a doctor himself was in good health and during his pre-anaesthetic check-up denied any history of cardiac problems. The ECG did not reveal any signs of infarction”.

“Most patients, after spinal surgery, suffer backache for first post-operative day and get relief by pain killers. Admittedly, the surgeon had left the city for some personal exigency, however the patient was constantly under observation of other doctors. Therefore, there was no deficiency in service. The patient post-operatively suffered cardiac complications, which were stabilised and he was shifted to other hospital. We do not find any lapses on the part of surgeon or the hospital”.

Source: Order pronounced by National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission on 1st December, 2022.