Doctor’s bright future, under a ‘cast of shadow’

  • Posted on: May 12, 2022

Covering up a mistake is a bigger mistake. A doctor learnt this the hard way as he was held negligent in this case.

The patient, a young girl, had fever and was taken to the doctor by her father. The doctor administered an injection on patient’s left buttock, and almost immediately thereafter she experienced severe pain. In matter of minutes swelling also developed. She found it difficult to stand or walk.

The doctor assured that these complications would soon subside. But they didn’t.

The young girl continued to suffer for months, visited several doctors. Eventually, her condition was diagnosed as poly-radiculopathy.

The patient’s father sued the doctor. The doctor denied any wrongdoing. He stated in defence that an intramuscular injection was administered during patient’s first visit to manage fever. There were no complains of pain or swelling at the time, claimed the doctor.

The patient had an episode of falling on her buttock from a stool. She was brought with complain of pain in the buttock region during second visit, and was referred to a surgeon for better management. The doctor also stated that patient was treated by other doctors, and the reason of persistent pain was due to spinal cord problems.

The Commission did not accept doctor’s defence. It was observed that one of the doctors – an orthopaedic surgeon – which the patient consulted performed MRI, and it did not report any spinal problems. It was further observed that the patient did not have neurological problems before consulting the doctor, but progressed rapidly after administration of injection

More importantly, the Commission observed that there was an added inscription on the doctor’s prescription, and stated the following:

“On doctor’s prescription of patient’s second visit, it is conspicuously written at the top within a square, NO INJECTION, and therefore it is clear that only since there was complication at the injected site during patient’s first visit, the doctor has acted with precaution to cover his negligent act and has voluntarily mentioned in the prescription that no injection was administered that day”.

“Such inscription on the prescription casts a shadow on the act of the doctor”.

The doctor was held negligent for covering up this apparent mistake. It cost him four lakh rupees in compensation.

Source:Order pronounced by National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission on 11th December, 2021.