Hospital’s unsuccessful attempt to ‘escape’ its duty

  • Posted on: June 03, 2021

A hospital, who had not provided discharge summary to the patient, was caught by the Court for lying that it had done so.

The patient experienced severe pain in stomach and approached the hospital where stone in left kidney was diagnosed. A procedure was performed after which, unfortunately, the patient suffered paralysis in both lower limbs.

Several specialists – neurophysician, urologist, physiotherapist, orthopaedician – were consulted, however the patient did not benefit from their treatment.

The hospital and its doctors were sued. Two allegations were made – the first one was that surgery was performed negligently causing paralysis leading to permanent disability. And the second allegation was that the hospital did not hand over discharge summary despite requesting several times.

The hospital presented a peculiar statement in its defence – that patient had ‘escaped’ the hospital and hence discharge summary could not be provided! It turned out to be a lie!

The Commission perused medical records and observed that the patient was treated properly and appropriate post-operative care was provided. Citing medical literature, the Commission further observed that the procedure patient underwent had known complications – paraplegia being one of them. Doctors cannot be held accountable for such unfortunate but known complications.

The hospital’s lie was laid bare by their own medical records, as the Commission stated the following:

“Hospital claims that patient was taken away by his brother in October 2005 from the hospital, but thereafter he has taken treatment in hospital as an indoor patient till February, 2006. Therefore, looking at the medical records, it is crystal clear that the patient did not escape from hospital”.

The hospital was held negligent for not providing discharge summary.

Source: Order pronounced by Gujarat State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission on 20th April, 2021.