Res IpsaLoquitor v/s Expert’s Opinion

  • Posted on: August 09, 2017

Many times, a hospital or doctor’s plea of bringing in an expert for an opinion is turned down by the court. There are instances where a medical expert’s opinion is not needed as the evidence of the case speaks for itself. This is one such story

Dr. Deb had fixed plates on Tanmay’s right leg, as he had met with a severe road accident that fractured his right humerus and right femur. The doctor fixed plates and the patient was recovering well before he met with another small accident, injuring his right femur. This time, Dr. Deb conservatively managed the patient for more than two months at the hospital before discharging him without removing the plates. Tanmay was in obvious discomfort. He approached SSKM Hospital where the broken plates were removed, but was declared disabled, as his case had worsened far beyond repair. The leg had developed severe infection and abnormal growth.

Facing each other from the opposite ends at the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, West Bengal, the patient and doctor made claims and counter claims. Tanmay pleaded that an auto driver like him had lost not only his leg but also his livelihood and claimed that it happened due to the doctor’s wrong decision of not removing the steel plate. He also claimed a hefty compensation.

The doctor however, was making all the wrong claims and even blamed the patient for being accident prone! Dr. Deb stated that the patient ought to have taken bed rest and added that while the patient was managed conservatively, the x-ray had shown satisfactory reunion of bones. Moreover, the doctor stressed on the fact that he could not be held negligible as the patient had not presented any expert’s opinion on the matter.

The Commission rejected the doctor’s claims point blank and pointed out at his admission of not removing the broken steel plates. This fact itself proved negligence and hence, it was a case of res ipsa loquitor and there was no need to bring in an expert for an opinion. The Commission sternly reprimanded the doctor as it sad the following: “Dr. Deb submitted that the patient was careless about his health as he fell down at his residence and sustained fractures once again causing breaking of plate inserted inside the right femur and right humerus but, we are afraid, the callousness of the treating doctor by not replacing of such broken plate from the place of operation with anticipation that the same will be reunited can be treated as a laughing stock but his carelessness cannot be colored with prudence and efficiency as a consultant surgeon rather his negligence became fatal to the fate of the young man causing thereby a loss to the nation, a healthy human resource”.

Source: Order pronounced by State Consumer Disputes RedreOrder pronounced by State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, West Bengal on 9th August, 2017.ssal Commission, West Bengal on 24th August, 2017.