Screwed and how!

  • Posted on: November 17, 2017

Some medical negligence cases could be easily avoided if the care givers are more diligent and careful while providing treatment. This case is one such example.

Mita Das met with an accident and approached Dr. Mitra at Green View Clinic & Nursing Home where he was diagnosed withfracture in left hip joint at neck of femur. The doctor performed an operation and implanted three screws in the left hip, at the neck of femur. She was discharged the next day with an advice to come for a follow up after a week. Mita did as advised. She kept following up with the doctor for about two weeks but the pain and swelling at the operated site did not subside. Dr. Mitra performed another operation whereby he replaced the screws with the screws of shorter length. But even after the second surgery Mita’s condition did not improve.

Being fed up of the pain, she visited a hospital for a second opinion where she was diagnosed with non-union at the neck of femur and was advised a Total Hip Replacement surgery. She agreed for the surgery, and was finally relieved of the pain and swelling. She was able to walk again without crutches.

She did not waste time in approaching the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, West Bengal where she made several allegations on the doctor. Her main contention was that the doctor implanted screws that were longer in size than required, which was evident from the fact that he replaced shorter ones in the second operation. She also sought to book Green View Clinic & Nursing Home where the doctor was employed for not taking proper care during the period of her treatment.

Dr. Mitra knew that he had erred, or so it seemed from his defensive stance. It was stated that he cannot be held liable for the non-union of fractured neck of femur as he performed the operation as per the standard of protocol. The doctor further stated that the patient came two days after her leg was fractured, and citing medical literature he claimed that such an operation ought to be conducted within 24 hours of the incident. Finally, the doctor stated that the break in the neck of femur bone caused necrosis in bone-head due to lack of oxygen, which ultimately resulted in shrinkage of the neck of the femoral head for which the implanted screws were required to be replaced by ones of shorter length. I am not guilty, proclaimed the doctor.

The Commission didn’t take cognizance of any of the statement presented by the doctor in his defence. There was a good reason for it. From HRCT scan of the hip joint, it was noted that the bonedensity was normal and that, the Commission observed, nullified the doctor’s claim of shrinkage in femur neck. The Commission further observed that replacement of the implanted screws also showed lack of careful and diligent service on part of the doctor and nursing home.

They both were held negligent and were ordered to pay Mita a compensation of more than two lakh.

Source: Order pronounced by State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, West Bengal on 17th October, 2017.