Patient loses eyesight, doctor loses the case

  • Posted on: February 01, 2020

Post-operative complications faced by more than one patient who have undergone a similar intervention at the same time can be adversely inferred by courts. Moreover, while post-operative complications are accepted part of interventions, they ought to be explained to the patient properly and the same must be recorded it in medical records.

Krishnakumar had cataract in the right eye and approached Dr. George who performed a surgery. Two days later, the patient suffered excruciating pain in the operated right eye and visited the doctor again, who referred him to a higher center where he was diagnosed with post-operative endophthalmitis and complete loss of vision in the right eye.

Dr. George was sued by the patient for this unfortunate incident.

The doctor presented his version of the incidence and stated that the most common bacteria ‘gram positive cocci’ causes such infection and probably the bacteria from infected wound on patient’s cheek caused post-operative endophthalmitis and subsequent loss of eyesight.

The Commission did not concur with doctor’s defense as it was observed that he had not recorded any details about the infected wound and the bacteria that may have caused it. Perusing the records of other patients, the Commission further observed that another patient had lost vision in her eye due to post-operative endophthalmitis, and she was also operated by the doctor on the same day!

Two patients contracting same infection after surgery performed by the same doctor on the same day cannot be coincidence, and this was Commission’s final verdict.

Dr. George was held negligent and was ordered to pay compensation.

Source: Order pronounced by Kerala State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission on 1st October, 2019.

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