General surgeon’s act “incorrect and against medical ethics” – National Consumer Commission

  • Posted on: October 19, 2023

The patient, suffering from acute cholecystitis with cholelithiasis, consulted a general surgeon. The doctor advised laparoscopic cholecystectomy to remove gall stones. For strange and unknown reasons, the doctor removed gall bladder instead!

Trouble for both, the patient and doctor, began soon thereafter.

The patient suffered post operative complications. Common bile duct (CBD) was injured during surgery. The patient was referred to another hospital for better management where she underwent yet another surgery.

Evidently, the patient was very unhappy with the general surgeon. She sued him and alleged that he was negligent as he failed to perform relevant tests before surgery. He was not even qualified to perform such a surgery, claimed the irate patient.

The doctor rebutted the allegations by submitting his medical degree & qualifications, and reports of the tests that were performed prior to the surgery.

The Commission was unimpressed with doctor’s defence, for the reasons mentioned below in its observations:

The cause of post-op complications and abdominal pain appears to have been due to perforation of appendix as diagnosed by the doctor from referred hospital. It is an admitted fact that instead of laparoscopic surgery to remove the gall bladder stones, as prescribed, the removal of gall bladder itself was done by the general surgeon. From the record, no surgery for gall bladder removal was advised on the basis of the tests prior to the surgery. The only advice was for laparoscopic surgery to remove the stones.

Removal of gall bladder instead of conducting laparoscopic surgery to remove the stones without patient’s consent was incorrect and against medical ethics. No case has been made that the surgery was essential in a life-threatening situation. No medical records were brought on record to substantiate such a course of action which would have justified the removal of gall bladder even without patient’s consent

The doctor was held negligent for this huge lapse. He was ordered to pay a hefty compensation too.   

Source : Order pronounced by National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission 31st August, 2023.