Malaria, jaundice and negligence claims patient’s life

  • Posted on: October 01, 2020

The patient was diagnosed with malaria and was under the care of Dr. Bhagat. Despite taking anti-malarial drugs, the patient did not get any relief. The doctor prescribed different medicines on subsequent visits, but to no avail. Patient’s condition continued to deteriorate.

He was taken to another doctor who diagnosed drug-induced hepatitis. The patient’s family rushed him to a hospital, but it was unfortunately too late. The patient died on the way to the hospital.

Dr. Bhagat was sued by the family who alleged him of negligence. The doctor did not have a strong defence to presence either.

The Commission observed that the patient, on his first visit, was prescribed medicines for ailments he did not suffer. On subsequent visits he was given antimalarial drugs. Furthermore, the doctor prescribed antibiotics to manage fever and abdominal pain.

Dr. Bhagat neither noted clinical findings nor could pick up the signs of hepatitis – jaundice. The Commission conclusively observed that while antimalarial drugs do not directly cause hepatitis, the doctor should have been aware that they potentially could result in drug-induced hepatitis – jaundice.

The doctor was held negligent on three grounds – prescribing irrelevant medicines, not maintaining clinical records and for continuing line of treatment despite patient’s deteriorating condition.

Source: Order pronounced by National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, New Delhi on 18th June, 2020