Failure to readmit a serious patient costs doc & hospital dearly

  • Posted on: December 24, 2018

Doctors’ failure to attend hospitalized patient and failure to re-hospitalize them in appropriate cases, are both instances of negligence.

Prasenjit had stone in gall bladder as well as in common bile duct (CBD) and hence, was taken to Roy Nursing Home, where Dr. Biswas performed a surgery on the day of admission.

The patient felt uneasy and flatulence almost immediately once he was conscious after the surgery. Dr. Biswas, for reasons best known to him, didn’t attend the patient for two days, and when he did attend, suggested that the patient be discharged!

After couple of days of discharge, the patient suffered from swollen abdomen, profuse vomiting and convulsions. The patient was rushed to Roy Nursing Home, where surprisingly, he was refused admission.

The patient was taken to other hospital where he was diagnosed with Biloma and a stone in CBD. Second surgery was performed to remove the stone, but the patient succumbed to sepsis, cardio respiratory arrest with multi organ failure.

The patient’s family were in no mood to let the doctor or the hospital off the hook as they approached State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, West Bengal. There were merits in their allegations.

It was alleged that the doctor hurriedly performed the surgery on the day of admission itself, rather than first opting for Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangio Pancreatography (ERCP). It was further alleged that doctor neither attended the patient nor was available even on telephone for consultation for two days after the surgery. It was also alleged that Roy Nursing Home blatantly refused to admit the patient even though his condition was serious.

Going by their lackluster defense, it didn’t look like either the nursing home or the doctor cared about what had transpired.

It was stated that sepsis is a common and known complication of gall bladder surgery, and hence neither the nursing home nor the doctor could be held accountable for it.

The Commission could perhaps sense the indifference too as it observed that retention of stone in the CBD and onset of Jaundice post-surgery clearly established negligence on part of the doctor. The Commission also observed that the nursing home didn’t have a reply as to why the patient was not re-admitted.

Both, Roy Nursing Home and Dr. Biswas were held negligent and ordered to compensate twenty lakh rupees!

Source: Order pronounced by State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, West Bengal on 30th August, 2018

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