Lack of O2 in the brain results in patient’s death – Hospital chokes in court

  • Posted on: March 07, 2024

The patient underwent bypass surgery at the hospital. He developed fatal post-operative complications after four days. There was clot formation in the brain; as a result he suffered a stroke and slipped into coma.

Patient’s family sought Discharge Against Medical Advice (DAMA), took him to their native place. Unfortunately, he breathed his last about a month thereafter.

The hospital and its doctors were sued. It was alleged that:

  1. EEG and carotid doppler test were not performed despite the fact that it was a high-risk surgery and the said tests were recommended by neurologist
  2. The hospital could not explain the reason for clotting even though anti-coagulants were given
  3. The doctors claimed that surgery was successful, but could not explain the reason why patient slipped into coma  

The hospital stated that stroke was an inherent risk of bypass surgery, a fact that was consented by patient’s family. It was further stated that anaesthesia chart clearly showed that patient’s oxygen level was adequate. He developed complications on the fifth day, which proved that surgery was successful.

Finally, it was pointed out that the family sought DAMA, which may have put patient’s life at a greater risk.

The National Consumer Commission upheld State Consumer Commission’s order, which had held the hospital negligent. It was observed that:

“State Commission has observed that the doctors and hospital failed to give any explanation with regards to blood clotting in the brain. As they failed to inform the resultant condition of the patient and as there was no progress in his physical condition, it is quite natural that his family sought DAMA. The doctor in his evidence before the State Commission stated that there is no supply of oxygen along with blood to parts of brain. It is the duty of anaesthesiologist during the course of surgery to watch and ascertain proper supply of blood and oxygen to the brain. State Commission has also taken note of some discrepancies in the consent forms”.

The hospital was held negligent and ordered to pay eighteen lakh rupees compensation.

Source : Order pronounced by National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission on 5th July, 2023.