Hiding facts from court exposes hospital’s vulnerability

  • Posted on: March 10, 2022

The patient, a disciplined senior citizen in late sixties, complained of back pain radiating up to chest. Tests confirmed that he was suffering from heart ailment. Double vessel stenting was performed but to no avail.

Angiography was performed subsequently. It reported the necessity for coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG).

The patient was referred to a reputed hospital where CABG was performed. But unfortunately post-operative complications had set in. His stomach was distended hence laparotomy was performed which showed that gangrene had developed in the bowel. Yet another surgery was performed. Again, to no avail.

It seems that the patient’s attendants had lost faith in the hospital and its doctors. They opted for Discharge Against Medical Advice (DAMA) and admitted him to another hospital. But it was too late. The patient could not be saved. Cause of death reported at this hospital was cardio-respiratory arrest due to multi organ dysfunction syndrome (MODS) due to CABG and laparotomy.

The hospital and doctors were sued by patient’s attendants. It was alleged that the doctors were totally indifferent and displayed lackadaisical attitude post CABG. They did not perform necessary tests to diagnose what was wrong, even though patient complained of stomach pain and distention was observed.

Hospital’s medical director (MD) appeared before the Commission to defend doctors’ actions. But he could not. The case was against the hospital. And the reasons are clearly laid out in Commission’s following statements:

“Post CABG, the patient was in discomfort and the staff was intimated. It was assured that there was nothing to worry as it was just a regular discomfort and necessary treatment would be given. Assurance for the said treatment was not performed in time. Nothing is on record whether or not doctors were intimated and what steps were taken by them”.

“The MD has submitted that he has studied the indoor case papers but then what was the difficulty or issue about not submitting them before the Commission and that’s why adverse is inference is required to be drawn that some facts are hidden by the hospital and there was suppression of material facts”.

The hospital was held negligent and ordered to pay compensation to patient’s family.

Source: Order pronounced by Gujarat State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission on 13th October, 2021.