Doc offers no answers on questions related to patient’s death

  • Posted on: November 06, 2018

Healthcare providers are bound to follow basic protocols such as taking signature on consent form, maintaining medical records and ensuring appropriate facilities in an ambulance while transferring a critical patient. Not doing so can result in serious outcomes, both for patient and the doctor or hospital.

Praveen had high fever and was taken to Dr. Gawade who administered injection Voveron on his left buttock. Praveen visited Dr. Gawade the very next day as he developed pain and swelling on his buttock. Dr. Gawade referred the patient to Dr. Chirmade who diagnosed gluteal abscess and admitted him to Diamond Hospital.

A surgery was performed by Dr. Chirmade to drain out the abscess. However, the patient’s condition became critical and he was transferred to Sion Hospital, but unfortunately he died while being transferred in an ambulance.

The patient’s relatives were shell shocked! A simple case of fever turned out to be fatal, and they strongly believed it was the doctor’s fault and hence, approached the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Maharashtra to look into the matter.

Dr. Gawade stated that there was absolutely no causal relationship between the injection and abscess formation. Moreover, he further stated, the injection was administered on the patient’s left buttock whereas abscess formation was on the right buttock. Dr. Chirmade didn’t appear before the court and the Commission continued the hearing ex parte.

Having studied Diamond Hospital’s medical records, the Commission made following observations:

Consent form was not signed by the patient and was a blanket printed type of consent. Moreover, there was no evidence whether the procedure was explained in native and understandable language of the patient.
The operation notes mentioned that while draining the gluteal abscess, instead of pus, air in the form of bubbles came out indicating the severe gas gangrene infection. It is also mentioned that culture swab was taken at the time of operation, but no report of same was found in medical records.
There was nothing noted in the records about the patient’s condition and circumstances that lead Dr. Chirmade to refer the patient to Sion Hospital.
There was no record of the details of transportation arrangement to transfer a serious patient to another hospital.
There was no evidence or record about the arrangement made for the safety of a serious patient; whether the patient was accompanied by medical attendant and whether the ambulance was well equipped like a cardiac ambulance.
As if the above observations were not damning enough for Dr. Chirmade, the Commission made following stern remark: “The patient was referred to Sion hospital in a hurried manner, without providing adequate safety measures like oxygen cylinder, skilled doctor, etc. We fail to understand as to why the patient was rather hurriedly shifted to Sion Hospital when he was under shadow of death. At Sion Hospital also the patient was left unattended by the ambulance attendants.”

Dr. Chirmade was held negligent and ordered to compensate six lakh rupees.

While no amount can be equaled to a loved one’s life, the patient’s family got heir much deserved closure.

Source: Order pronounced by State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Maharashtra on 4th September, 2018