Hospital held accountable for negligence of its ICU staff

  • Posted on: April 01, 2021

The patient experienced severe chest pain. He was rushed to the hospital where diagnosis of myocardial infraction (MI) was made and was admitted in ICU. Unfortunately, the patient developed cellulitis and septicaemia due to extravasation of IV line.

The patient’s condition turned from bad to worse. His blood urea level shot up drastically indicating renal failure. He was referred to a nephrologist at a higher centre. Thankfully, the patient recovered after several sessions of dialysis and other procedures.

Unhappy with the treatment the patient’s family sued the first hospital. They made one pointed allegation – the extravasation was mismanaged by ICU staff leading to severe and life-threatening complications.

The hospital authorities rejected this claim and submitted that extravasation of IV line was a known complications at all hospitals. It could also have been caused due to patient moving his hand. In any case, it was detected without any delay and the patient was managed accordingly. However, due to patient’s diabetic condition he did not respond to the line of treatment and hence, was referred to a higher centre without delay.

The Commission perused the treatment record and dismissed hospital’s defence. It was observed that extravasation happened within the confines of ICU; cellulitis and septicaemia had set in by the time it was detected. These complications could have been avoided if extravasation was detected on time by the ICU staff.

The Commission observed that the “sequence of events clearly indicated negligence” and held the hospital accountable for it.

Source: Order pronounced by Kerala Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, on 17th February, 2021.