Pre-operative tests to ensure that the patient is ‘hale & hearty’, a legal mandate

  • Posted on: June 13, 2024

The patient consulted doctor for check-up of her right eye. The doctor performed cataract surgery and discharged her the next day. During two subsequent follow-ups, bandage was removed and tests were performed.

About a fortnight later, intraocular pressure was found to be high. Patient had lost the vision. She consulted three other doctors, but to no avail. She was diagnosed with endophthalmitis.

The patient sued the doctor, alleging that cataract surgery was performed negligently.

The doctor refuted the allegation, stating that surgery was performed as per medical standards, an informed consent was obtained and all pre-operative tests were performed. He further stated that endophthalmitis was a known post-cataract complication, and moreover, neither doctor that the patient consulted opined that surgery was performed negligently.

The Commission perused medical records and dismissed doctor’s defence, observing that:

“As per medical prescriptions and test reports, it is evident that the patient had taken treatment at various hospitals. The doctor has not submitted any test report to show that before going for the eye operation, required tests were performed, so as to ensure that patient’s vital parameters were in order and she was hale and hearty to be operated upon. This proves that there was lack of proper care and caution on doctor’s part, which can very well be construed as some sort of medical negligence”.

The doctor was held negligent and ordered to pay compensation.

Source : Order pronounced by Uttarakhand State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission on 25th May, 2024.