Doc & hospital pay hefty compensation for ignoring a basic protocol

  • Posted on: December 14, 2023

This is yet another unfortunate case in which doctor and hospital were held negligent for treating patient in a facility lacking in critical care infrastructure.

The patient, since birth, had only one kidney, and was admitted with complains of fever. She was diagnosed with urinary tract infection and bacterial infection, which led to kidney ailments.

The doctor performed stenting procedure, but to no avail. Patient developed septicaemia and severe metabolic acidosis. She was transferred to a higher centre, but could not be revived after suffering a fatal heart attack.

Her family sued the doctor and hospital. It was alleged that the hospital lacked in intensive care facilities despite claiming to be a super-speciality hospital. It was further alleged that there was no monitoring system in the recovery room to keep a check on patient’s vital parameters.

Denying the allegations, the doctor and hospital authorities stated in defence that patient suffered from septicaemia before the surgery was performed, and her family was explained about the risks and benefits of stenting procedure. It was performed after obtaining an informed consent. It was further stated that the recovery room was well-equipped with emergency facilities and patient was continuously monitored.

The National Consumer Commission dismissed doctor’s and hospital’s defence, as it observed the following:

“The patient had only one kidney and severe urinary tract infection. It is clear that there was no intensive care or infection disease specialist available during the post-operative care as per guidelines. Further, it is admitted that there was no ICU facility and as the surgery was high-risk surgery, the doctor ought not to have proceeded to conduct the operation ignoring risks involved”.

“From a perusal of the consent letter, it does not reflect that the surgery involved high-risk and is complicated one but it only gave permission to conduct the operation. Therefore, it cannot be inferred that the information of surgery being high-risk and complicated one is given to the patient or her family.”

“So far as the point of development of septicaemia is concerned, the doctor and hospital have failed to establish that the patient was suffering from septicaemia before conducting the operation. Even if it is presumed that the patient was suffering from septicaemia, the operation should not have been conducted when the basic facilities like intensive care unit were not available in the hospital”.

The doctor and hospital were held negligent and ordered to pay compensation of twenty lakh rupees!

Source : Order pronounced by National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission 23rd November, 2023.