Honest doc punished for making an innocent mistake

  • Posted on: April 15, 2019

It is imperative to refer a patient to the specialist when there are clear signs of complications, which could be beyond the purview of a MD physician. This case however is an example of a contrary fact.

Aniruddha had visited Dr. Das – a MD physician – with complains of diarrhoea and blood pressure. The doctor prescribed medicines and while the diarrhoea was treated, patient’s blood pressure didn’t show any sign of normality. Ideally, it should’ve been a red flag for a doctor, but for unknown reasons Dr. Das ignored it and continued to prescribe medicines.

After about six months when the patient didn’t get any relief, the doctor advised cardiologic tests which reported aortic stenosis. The patient was shocked at the findings but didn’t waste any time and visited a famous cardiothoracic surgeon for valve replacement.

As soon as Aniruddha was hale and hearty, he sued Dr. Das, alleging him of providing wrong treatment and filed a case with State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, West Bengal. The patient also alleged that the delay in performing relevant test to diagnose the actual problem resulted severe case of aortic stenosis.

Dr. Das’s defence was honest, but weak. It was stated that the patient was given appropriate care, medicines were prescribed as per his condition and when she showed symptoms of heart problem cardiologic tests were advised. Why am I being blamed for doing my due diligence, queried the doctor.

The reply he got from the Commission would’ve perhaps opened his eyes. It was observed that even though the doctor realised that the prescribed medicines were not working for as long as six months, he continued with the same treatment. While he didn’t have any bad intentions to spoil the patient’s condition, not referring the patient to a relevant specialist was the undoing.

The doctor, hence, was found negligent and ordered to compensate the patient.

Source: Order pronounced by State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, West Bengal on 10th January, 2019.