Doctor’s defence crushed to ‘drill bits’

  • Posted on: July 21, 2022

The patient experienced pain in hip and approached the orthopaedic surgeon who performed total hip replacement (THR). Usually considered a relatively uneventful procedure, the outcome of THR in this instance was anything but ordinary.

Patient’s leg developed complications. There was oozing of pus and continuous swelling. Despite four subsequent hospitalizations there was little improvement. It was finally discovered that a cement drill bit was lodged at the operated site which caused complications. Eventually it was removed and the patient was relieved of ailments.

The leg was rendered two inches shorter though!

The patient sued the orthopaedic surgeon and blamed his negligent treatment for the unfortunate disability.

The doctor denied any negligence and made a shocking claim in defence. He stated that “it sometimes happens that the drill bits are left in patients’ body”!

The Commission may have been astonished upon hearing such statement from a seasoned doctor. Of course, his claim was dismissed as the Commission stated the following:

“The OPD card and discharge summary clearly mentions about removal of pieces of surgical drill left in the body which were removed by operating the patient. It is noted from the doctor’s reply that he has given excuse for leaving broken piece of surgical drill stating it sometimes happen. We are not convinced with the argument as it is dangerous if this plea is accepted that hospital keeps surgical equipment used for treating human body in such a condition that they can break in the body”.

The doctor and hospital were both held negligent and ordered to pay a handsome compensation.

Source: Order pronounced by Delhi State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission on 24th January, 2022.