Doctors behaving like demi-gods – Not done, observes the court

  • Posted on: February 02, 2023

This is one of those cases in which glaring lapses on part of the doctors and nursing home compelled the Court to draw adverse inferences and make harsh observations before holding them negligent.

The patient was diagnosed with cholecystitis with cholelithiasis, and was admitted to a nursing home for an operation. Unfortunately, she developed complications during the procedure and died soon thereafter.

The patient’s son blamed the anaesthetist, surgeon and nursing home, alleging that the three of them were negligent in treating his mother.

The doctors and nursing home rejected the allegation and simply stated that informed consent was taken and the patient was a sixty-eight-year-old woman - anything could happen to a patient of her age.

The Commission was visibly upset and unimpressed by the defence, as it observed the following:

“It is worthy to point out that no video recording or recorded C.D. of the operation is forthcoming before us to enable us to see actually what happened in the OT. It is nursing home’s duty to maintain and preserve the recorded video so that it can be given to the patient or to the court when required”.

“The surgeon advised repeat USG of whole abdomen for cholecystitis and the impression was chronic cholecystitis with cholelithiasis, tenderness over gastric point. Neither the doctor nor the anaesthetist had examined the patient prior to operation. The anaesthetist did not take patient’s medical history to declare that the patient was fit for general anaesthesia. From the bed head ticket, it is not evident when the operation was started and when was it finished”.

“We fail to understand why some of the doctors think themselves as demi-gods on earth – why do they keep distance from the patient? Why do they not give some more time to the patient to explain pros and cons of proposed surgery. We are surprised that the anaesthetist did not perform any pre-anaesthetic check-up. She entered straightaway into the operation theatre without taking patient’s medical history or her medical condition. We are very much dissatisfied with the careless and negligent course of action taken by the anaesthetist, she was casual, careless and did not exercise reasonable care in administrating anaesthesia”.

The surgeon, anaesthetist and nursing home were collectively ordered to pay a hefty compensation to patient’s family.

Source:Order pronounced by West Bengal State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission on 1st July, 2022.