Complications or constipation?

  • Posted on: June 09, 2022

A young boy was taken by his parents to a doctor. His complaint was frequently recurring abdominal pain.

The doctor performed tests, diagnosed appendicitis and advised appendectomy. However, he wanted to be rule out any other problems and hence the young patient was also checked by a paediatric heart specialist. ECG was performed and an anaesthetist was also consulted.

This team of doctors opined that there were some cardiac problems. They informed the parents that appendectomy would be a high risk surgery and would be performed in a fully-equipped ICU with ventilator and cardiac monitoring.

Evidently, the parents were shaken upon hearing this. They took their boy to a hospital for second opinion. Doctors at this second hospital diagnosed constipation as the cause of abdominal pain and prescribed some medicines after which the young boy recovered.

The parents breathed a sigh of relief. And soon thereafter sued the doctor they consulted earlier, alleging that he was negligent in diagnosing the boy’s condition.

The Commission dismissed the allegation, stating the following:

“From a plain reading, it appears that the parents were perplexed due to the advice of anaesthesiologist and cardiologist, and preferred to take their child to the other hospital where he became normal and got relief. It was averred that the said hospital simply diagnosed the problem as constipation and the patient returned home soon. Such facts conclusively establish that the treating doctor simply advised upon anticipation of certain risk which cannot be termed as negligence”.

The case against doctor was dismissed. But a simple case of constipation took everyone’s breath away!

Source:Order pronounced by West Bengal State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission on 25thJanuary, 2022.