Doc chips in compensation for using ‘unsafe’ sutural clips

  • Posted on: December 20, 2017

Suffering from pain in the upper abdomen, Gouranga approached Dr. Roy who diagnosed Cholelithiasis and performed laparoscopic cholecystectomy. After more than five years, the terrible pain in the upper abdomen returned and Gouranga approached another surgeon who diagnosed jaundice and performed a CT scan which further reported presence of metallic sutural clips. To confirm the findings, the doctor performed endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) which revealed multiple calculi and 2 clips in CBD. A sphincterotomy was done to remove the calculi and sutural clips.

Armed with the facts of the case, Gouranga approached State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, West Bengal and blamed Dr. Roy for his misfortune. It was alleged that migration of the sutural clips caused injury to the CBD which consequently caused jaundice. It was further alleged that Dr. Roy didn’t inform of any such adverse reaction when he performed laparoscopic cholecystectomy. The doctor must be held accountable, pleaded Gouranga.

Dr. Roy on his part presented the best possible defence forward. It was stated that possibility of migration of sutural clips is not unusual, and neither is occurrence of jaundice after laparoscopic cholecystectomy. Moreover, the patient complained of abdomen pain after five long years which indicated that he was in a stable condition. How could he be held negligent, questioned the doctor.

The Commission had prompt replies for the doctor. Citing medical literature, it was observed that using thread ligation or absorbable ligatures is safer than using metallic ones. Moreover, the doctor had not explained to the patient possibility of adverse reactions. Making note of medical records, the Commission further observed that the commonly used stapler for closing the CD was also not applied.

Perhaps the doctor got his reply as he was held guilty of negligence and ordered to pay more than 4 lakhs to the patient.

Source: Order pronounced by State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, West Bengal on 20th November, 2017.