Patient loses vision, doctor loses the case.

  • Posted on: March 21, 2016

Dr. Prasad had conducted a bilateral cataract surgery on Mr. Venkata’s right eye at a hospital. Only a day after being discharged, he had to be readmitted as he was suffering with pain, blurred vision and watering from the eye. Observing that there was no improvement, the doctor referred the patient to a vitreo retinal surgeon, who opined that there was no post-operative inflammation or infection and that the affected eye should be investigated on the lines of corneal haziness / edema.

However, the patient did not visit Dr. Prasad for the suggested investigation. Dr. Prasad later advised him to visit an eye institute in Hyderabad for treatment of corneal haziness. Coming from a financially weak background, Mr. Venkata could not travel to Hyderabad, and unfortunately lost vision in the right eye.

Seeking compensation from Dr. Prasad and the hospital alleging negligence in conducting the cataract surgery resulting in loss of vision, Mr. Venkata filed a complaint before the State Commission.

The State Commission, after observing medical records, noted that the hazy appearance in the patient’s right eye was at the centre and that it should have been due to damage to the corneal endothelium at the centre of eye. Citing medical literature, the State Commission further stated that “there is much possibility that injury or the damage to cornea must have occurred only due to surgical trauma and that it had happened only at the time of cataract extraction done by Dr. Prasad”.

Relying on Supreme Court’s definition of medical negligence, the State Commission concluded that the unfortunate loss of vision in was either due to failure of Dr. Prasad in not adopting reasonable skill or failure in the duty of care. The State Commission also ordered a compensation of INR 2 Lacs to be paid jointly by Dr. Prasad and the hospital to Mr. Venkata. A lose-lose situation for everybody.

Source: Order pronounced by National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, New Delhi on 2nd November, 2015