Clean record and sterilized equipment

  • Posted on: October 28, 2021

The patient was diagnosed with stones in left kidney and was taken to a hospital. The urologist performed percutaneous nephrolithothomy (PCNL), a fairly common procedure these days, and discharged the patient after thirty six hours.

Unfortunately, she vomited several times and swelling developed on her face after dinner. Her family was obviously worried at the onset of these complications. She was readmitted at the hospital. The urologist performed tests that reported extremely low platelet count, low blood pressure and severe dehydration. The doctor suspected fungal septicaemia and referred her to a higher centre for better management.

Doctors at this higher centre diagnosed that her kidney was not palpable and the bladder was empty. The patient received treatment for few days and was discharged. But the complications had taken a fatal turn.

The patient was admitted yet again at the first hospital and unfortunately passed away due to haemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). Her family sued the hospital and urologist. Their one and only allegation was that unhygienic non-sterilized instruments were used which caused fungal septicaemia.

The Commission perused medical records of both hospitals and dismissed the family’s allegation while stating the following: “As per medical literature, candida which is fungus present in oral cavity and gastrointestinal tract sometime overgrows and enters the blood stream. The surgery has no role to play in such infection”.

“Two samples of blood taken for culture test at the higher centre reported no growth and other found budding yeast cells. Thus, it was not conclusive of any fungal septicaemia. It is to be noted that none of the patient has ever caught fungal infection at the first hospital”.

“I suspect the death was due to septicaemia induced fatal DIC, but not HUS which is a distinctly different entity. The treating doctors at the first hospital followed the standard method with reasonable degree of skills and treated the patient, it was not a medical negligence”.

The bereaved family did not get the desired result either from the treatment or from the Consumer Commission. But let’s hope they understood the facts and got the closure they needed.

Source: Order pronounced by National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission on 1st June, 2021.