Court breaks the case of a doctor who didn’t treat fracture

  • Posted on: October 12, 2017

Bapi was a bubbly boy, oozing with energy. He was extremely good in track & field sports. Was!

As it happens so many times, he had a bad fall during a long jump practice session. He was taken to Dr. Bera who diagnosed a fracture on the boy’s left leg. He plastered the leg and discharged him from the hospital a few days later. The pain in the boy’s leg didn’t subside and he was in terrible pain.

He again visited the doctor who simply prescribed medicines and advised to approach a physiotherapist. Surprisingly, when the boy visited the doctor again, he was hospitalized for more days and discharged again without any comprehensive treatment!

The boy’s father had enough. He took Bapi to Command Hospital where it was discovered that the fracture had persisted. Almost ten months had transpired from the day when Bapi fell to the day he was diagnosed at Command Hospital! It was also found that Dr. Bera had not performed any surgery and prescribed wrong medicines for almost a year! More worryingly, Bapi, the firecracker, was left handicapped! His father had to do something. And he did as he presented his case to theState Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, West Bengal.

The doctor was absolutely defiant. He was making one claim after the other. It was stated that the fracture was set as much as possible, and plastering was chosen as the line of treatment considering Bapi’s young age when formation of calcium and remodeling is expected to happen easily. He further stated that most femoral fractures in children can and should be treated by closed method and only rare cases would need an open reduction method! He had not finished.

Denying his liability for the treatment, he expressed that the operative treatment for malunion should not be considered under 6 to 12 months after the fracture has occurred, whatever may be the age of the patient. He has done everything by the book, claimed the doctor!

Must be a book written by and for you, the Commission would’ve thought as they began to reprimand the doctor with the following stern words: “It appears that the patient was a victim of a case of neglected fracture. He was operated at Command Hospital nearly ten months after he sustained the injuries. The materials on record particularly the written version of the doctor himself clearly reflects that the patient was treated by him from the very beginning. Being an expert in the field, he did not make any attempt for surgery either in the hospital or at the chamber nor did he treat the patient with the application of traction, etc. For reasons best known to him he left the matter for normal healing with the fragments in a non-automatic position. Such carelessness on his part as an expert against a poor child must be termed as medical negligence in strict sense of the term and we can define it applying the principle of Res IpsaLoquitor”.

The doctor was held negligent and slapped a compensation of more than three lakh!

Source: Order pronounced by State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, West Bengal on 29th August, 2017