Doc’s ‘bald statements’, a hairy affair

  • Posted on: February 10, 2022

The patient delivered a healthy boy under the care of gynaecologist, and was discharged after few days as the C-section procedure was uneventful.

About twenty days later, the patient experienced abdominal pain and had recurring bouts of vomiting. She visited doctor twice at the hospital. But the prescribed medicines were not effective.

Vexed by her prolonged sufferings, the patient visited another hospital. Her worst fears came true. She was diagnosed with internal hernia of small gut behind a jejuno-colic fistula, wrapped by omentum. Doctors at this hospital performed partial omentectomy, but the procedure did not relieve the patient of her problems.

She was referred to yet another hospital, where she died after five days.

Her family sued the gynaecologist and first hospital. They made a very pointed allegation – the patient died due to internal hernia which was caused by stitching of two veins together during C-section performed by gynaecologist.

The gynaecologist and hospital did not offer much in form of defence except stating that proper treatment was provided.

The Commission rejected the defence, as it stated the following:

“As per gynaecologist, proper treatment was given to the patient post LSCS, but except a bald statement there is no documentary evidence on record to prove this fact. Even there is no evidence to show that requisite tests were conducted by her to know the exact cause of abdominal pain”.

“Furthermore, gynaecologist did not admit the patient in the hospital and carry out necessary investigations, when she visited twice within a fortnight with said complaints and there was no improvement. She knew her medical history as she had performed LSCS. She could have investigated the cause of abdomen pain and prescribed proper treatment as per standard medical protocols”.

The hospital and gynaecologist were held negligent and ordered to pay compensation.

Source: Order pronounced by Punjab State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission on 27th September, 2021.