General surgeon performing prostrate surgery ‘reflects an unholy haste’

  • Posted on: May 23, 2024

The patient, a middle-aged man, experienced urinary problems. His first consultation was with a urologist; the doctor advised prostrate surgery.

Heeding to the advice, the patient consulted another doctor – a general surgeon – who also concurred with urologist’s advice. Surprisingly though, the surgeon performed operation on the same day patient was admitted, without performing pre-operative tests. Evidently, the patient was asthmatic and hypertensive.

The patient suffered severe post-operative complications. He was taken to the general surgeon several times, but to no avail. He was eventually referred to another hospital where sepsis was diagnosed. Unfortunately, the patient succumbed to the complications.

His enraged family sued the general surgeon, alleging that the doctor neither performed pre-operative tests nor provided post-operative care. Even an informed consent was not obtained, alleged the family.

The doctor denied these allegations stating that he relied on tests performed by urologist which were barely few days old; there was no need to perform them again!

He also stated that ‘the formality of taking permission was complied with’, and there was no deficiency on his part.

The Commission did not seem impressed by the defence, as it observed the following:

“After hearing the contentions and perusing the pleadings, it is evident that the doctor is a general surgeon and patient’s problem pertained to prostate and passing of urine, and for that the operation should have been conducted by a urologist and his help should've been taken but the general surgeon conducted it without any help of any specialist on his own in a hurry, without conducting any test. And after the operation when patient's health deteriorated then he was referred to the specialist doctors”.

“The patient had history of some collateral ailments like asthma and hypertension, and the way general surgeon rushed to perform the operation reflects an unholy haste which appears to have primarily contributed to the worsening of patient’s condition who eventually succumbed to it”.

Not taking advice and not including a specialist / urologist while performing the operation led to the general surgeon’s undoing in this case. He was held negligent and ordered to pay compensation to patient’s family.

Source : Order pronounced by National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission on 1st May, 2024.