Death of a new-born takes doctor’s breath away

  • Posted on: October 11, 2018

Most patients do not understand that medicine is an imperfect science. This lack of awareness coupled with decisions they themselves take more often than not proves to be a harrowing experience for doctors and hospitals, as this case demonstrates.

Shailja was pregnant and was under the care of Dr. Savitha who advised Targeted Imaging For Foetal Anomalies (TIFA). The said test reported Ecogenic Cardio Focus (ECF) in the left ventricle minor marker for chromosomal anomalies. A second TIFA was advised by Dr. Savitha, after two weeks which reported that the foetus was normal.

A child was delivered few months later and the patient also underwent Tubectomy the same day. The child, however, developed breathing problems and was taken to a hospital where cardiac surgery was performed, but unfortunately the new-born died.

Shailja’s sorrows knew no bounds, and understandably so. The grief stricken mother approached the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, New Delhi and blamed Dr. Savitha for her loss.

It was alleged that the doctor neither informed her about cardiac issue found in the TIFA nor advised against Tubectomy. While I cannot get back what I have lost, the doctor must pay for her negligence, implored the patient.

The Commission patiently listened to Shailja, but that was all they could offer. The evidence clearly showed that the doctor followed due diligence and the child’s death was an unfortunate incident.

After a thorough perusal of the facts and medical records, the Commission stated the following: “The ECF noted in the left ventricle was only a minor marker for chromosomal anomalies. This clearly implies that the ECF was not a marker for any possible cardiac abnormality. Therefore, it would be difficult to say that the cardiac abnormality on account of which the infant child died, could have been suspected on the basis of an echogenic focus noted in the left ventricle. Nothing prevented Shailja from consulting some other doctor for the possible chromosomal anomalies. Moreover, in the repeat scan done by the same radiologist, no major foetus anomaly was noted. No expert evidence or medical literature has been produced to prove that the ECF noted in the left ventricle, which was only a minor marker for chromosomal anomalies, warranted an advice to the patient for medical termination of pregnancy.”

“Moreover, patient’s case sheet shows that she was counselled to postpone Tubectomy for a year with a view to observe the new-born’s health. But she was not willing to wait for one year and hence, it cannot be said that the doctor was negligent or deficient in rendering services to her by performing the Tubectomy on her request.”

Dr. Savitha breathed a sigh of relief as she was declared not negligent.

Source: Order pronounced by National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, New Delhi on 17th September, 2018.

July 2023 June 2023 May 2023 April 2023 March 2023 February 2023 January 20232022202120202019201820172016
ART / Surrogacy Laws