Ignoring guidelines costs this hospital a lot

  • Posted on: November 02, 2023

Sometime in the year 2002 and 2003, patient underwent kidney transplantation at the hospital.

In the year 2009, he was admitted with complaints of cough and fever. After receiving treatment for about a week, the patient was discharged; but had to be readmitted again in five days.

His breathing problems were getting worse. Eventually, he was tested positive for H1N1 and shifted to a government designated centre. But as fate would have it, the patient died after ten days.

The hospital was sued by patient’s family. It was alleged that the doctors stopped medicines essential to manage transplanted kidneys which led to kidney failure and subsequent complications.

The hospital, in its defence, stated that patient was critical at the time of admission and his condition was stabilized due to immediate steps taken by the doctors. It was further stated that patient’s kidneys were functioning at only 15% capacity. The patient was also diagnosed with viral infection with hyponatremia and dehydration.

The National Consumer Commission cited Government Guidelines on H1N1 and rejected hospital’s defence, as it observed the following:

As seen from the two discharge summaries, on the date of first admission, patient was having complaints of cough with sputum, breathlessness and mild fever for two weeks and the symptoms had aggravated for two to three days prior to date of admission. He was, therefore, certainly covered under Category A and B of the guidelines till that time.”

When he was admitted second time, he not only had cough with sputum and mild fever over two weeks, but was also complaining of breathlessness and on physical examination was also found to be breathless. This symptom of breathlessness is the additional component included in guidelines pertaining to Category C apart from the other symptoms of Category A and B.

The omission on part of the hospital to test the patient for H1N1 promptly would certainly be contrary to requirements under the guidelines, and therefore does constitute actionable medical negligence.”

The hospital was ordered to dole out a lumpsum compensation for not following guidelines on H1N1 testing and management of H1N1 patients.

Source : Order pronounced by National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission 20th August, 2023.