Deep seated infection spurs an ingrained bias

  • Posted on: October 07, 2019

Bishakhamet with an unfortunate road accident and was rushed to Dr. Basu who performed an X-ray which showed fracture of shaft of humerus. A surgery was performed and a plate was fixed. However,the patient developed complications due to radial nerve compression which necessitated another surgery, but complications persisted even after second surgery. Dr. Basu referred Bishakha to another doctor who diagnosed infected non-union of fracture.

The second doctor treated Bishakha in two stages, after which she mad full recovery. With new-found zest, the patient sued Dr. Basu and made several unfounded allegations – most damning of which was that the doctor was incompetent and negligent in providing treatment.

Although the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission heard the patient’s plea, medical records clearly established that Dr. Basu treated her with due diligence and as per standard protocol. Having perused medical records, the Commission stated the following: “We note that there was left radial nerve compression because of the plate and soft tissue. Dr. Basu performed second surgery for decompression to release pressure on the radial nerve. However, the nerve was intact and there was no damage. Thereafter, the doctor re-examined the patient on and found that the fixed plate was progressively getting loosened, which was an indication of deep seated infection. Therefore, the patient was referred to an expert who diagnosed it as infected non-union of fracture. It should be borne in mind that, mere infection during the post-operative period is not only due to negligence of the treating doctor. There are several factors for infection of surgical wound. It is pertinent to note that after surgery and during entire treatment, patient was put on regular dressing and antibiotics; despite that there was infection”.

Observations made by the Commission came as a relief to the doctor, and perhaps as a learning for the patient who dragged him to the court may be due to her ‘deep seated bias’ against medical fraternity.

Source: Order pronounced by National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, New Delhi on 11th April, 2019