Doctor’s action v/s patient’s knee-jerk reaction

  • Posted on: February 06, 2021

The patient experienced severe pain in his right knee and noticed swelling on it. He visited an orthopaedic surgeon at the hospital. The doctor diagnosed femur-displaced fracture and performed ORIF procedure.

Few days after discharge, the patient developed pain again and visited the orthopaedic surgeon and yet another doctor. He consulted another doctor at a hospital where yet another procedure was performed.

Vexed by his prolonged sufferings, the patient sued the first orthopaedic surgeon. It was alleged that the two X-rays taken before he approached the doctor reported giant cell tumour (GCT), however the doctor wrongly diagnosed fracture and hurriedly performed a wrong procedure.

The patient claimed that the three doctors he subsequently consulted also opined that he suffered from GCT and the orthopaedic surgeon performed a wrong procedure.

The orthopaedic surgeon denied that patient showed him the two X-rays, and the one taken at hospital reported pathological fracture and not GCT. Even during surgery there was no indication of GCT, concluded the doctor.

The Commission perused medical records and observed that when patient visited the doctor for follow up, a post-operative X-ray showed reported small suspicious lytic shadow which needed further observation. But the patient did not visit the doctor subsequently. The Commission noted that no doctor would arrive at a definitive diagnosis of GCT based on small shadow on an X-ray.

The Commission conclusively observed that neither of the three doctors conclusively opined presence of GCT hence, the orthopaedic surgeon could not be held negligent.

Source: Order pronounced by National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission on 7th February, 2020.