Leaving patient in OT – beyond imagination

  • Posted on: February 24, 2022

Can operating surgeon leave the operation theatre (OT) before shifting the patient to post-operative ward / room? No, ruled the State Consumer Commission in this case.

The patient delivered a healthy girl in the nursing home of a gynaecologist who had performed C-section. She left the OT once the procedure was complete.

The patient developed amniotic fluid embolism (AFE) and suffered fatal cardiac arrest. Her family’s joy turned into an unbearable loss within matter of minutes.

The gynaecologist and nursing home were sued. It was alleged that the doctor left the OT even though the patient was not shifted to post-operative ward.

The doctor stated in defence that patient’s husband opposed post-mortem which could have helped identify real cause of her death.

The Commission was perhaps unimpressed by the gynaecologist’s statement as it stated the following:

“The District Forum has held that the operation note produced by gynaecologist states that cyanosis was diagnosed after delivery. This is due to oxygen deficiency. There is no reference of AFE in this report. The last sentence is - anaesthetist stands managing. It means that the gynaecologist was not present. There is no note regarding steps taken to improve patient’s condition. No proper and satisfactory explanation has been given by the gynaecologist on reasons for AFE which shows deficiency in service and also negligence”.

“The gynaecologist has stated that the she took proper care and administered every possible method to save patient’s life. It is beyond imagination that she left the OT before completing the operation”.

“The duty of a doctor is to take complete care of patients especially when he / she is in the OT. The doctor cannot leave the patient before his / her removal from the OT either to ICU or to ward”.

Both – the nursing home and gynaecologist – were held negligent and ordered to pay a hefty compensation.

Source:Order pronounced by Uttar Pradesh State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission on 7th September, 2021.