High on sugar, low on facts

  • Posted on: March 23, 2022

The patient, a practicing doctor, underwent total knee replacement (TKR) surgery of left leg which was performed by an orthopaedic surgeon. Unfortunately, it developed severe infection. Despite debridement, the infection could not be controlled. Eventually, the leg was amputated at another hospital by another doctor.

Losing the limb was probably a devastating experience for this patient-doctor. He sued the orthopaedic surgeon and first hospital. It was alleged that the doctor performed TKR in a haste, without controlling high sugar level which led to infection and amputation.

The orthopaedic surgeon was perhaps bemused. He stated that the patient, who is also a doctor, was clearly informed about high sugar level, which was brought under control by prescribing medicines. It was further stated that the surgery was performed once the blood sugar was brought down to acceptable limit of 180mg. The orthopaedic surgeon presented medical literature to substantiate this fact.

Finally, it was also submitted that the patient did not adhere to his advice. He was told not to put any pressure on the leg, however, he confided about offering namaaz during which knees had to be bent.

The Commission perused meticulously maintained medical records and observed that patient’s sugar level, on the first day of consultation was 226mg which was brought down to 180mg. It was also observed that 120mg – 180mg is the acceptable blood sugar limit to perform surgery.

The patient-doctor’s case and complaint was dismissed. Perhaps the doctor in him realised the mistake.

Source: Order pronounced by Gujarat Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission on 17th November, 2021.