Self-care patient’s tactics proves to be self-destructive

  • Posted on: July 22, 2021

In yet another instance, a patient resorted to arm twisting tactics to prove the doctor negligent. However, his intimidation was quickly pushed back by State Commission’s observation.

The patient had sustained severe injuries on his right leg in a road accident. He was rushed to a hospital where the orthopaedic surgeon diagnosed serious compound grade 3B fracture. All muscles below the knee were ruptured. Ilizarov procedure was performed, and the patient remained hospitalised for about twenty days.

A plastic surgeon was also involved as the injuries were serious. He advised the patient to visit a senior plastic surgeon for another opinion and treatment. The patient was subsequently discharged and appeared after seven months. The condition of his leg had worsened by then. Pus was oozing and there was severe infection. The leg was eventually amputated.

The orthopaedic surgeon was sued. The patient made usual allegations – carelessness and negligence shown by doctor led to amputation. He also alleged that the doctor wrongly measured the rod, and a screw was used at the site of fracture!

The doctor perhaps could not believe his eyes and ears. He stated in defence that the patient was clearly explained about the grave nature of injuries, and was also informed that the leg may have to be amputated. The doctor thought it was best to present medical records, and the photographs of patient’s leg taken at the time of admission, to bolster his defence. It turned out to be a wise decision.

The Commission, upon studying voluminous medical records, submission of plastic surgeon and other doctors, stated the following: “The patient when asked to explain what treatment he took and whom did he take it from for seven months after discharge, he has replied that he has not taken treatment from any other place”.

“To the question to explain in detail what care did he take he answered that he took medicines and was getting dressing done as per opinion of the doctor. Again to the question that he continued the treatment at home as per the instruction of orthopaedic surgeon, then when did he obtain his instructions and what treatment he took, he replied that he was getting dressing done”.

“The patient does not possess medical knowledge. He has clearly answered that during seven months he had not taken treatment from anywhere but was getting dressing at home only. When he did not go to the doctor after the discharge, these dressings at home cannot be held to be done under the doctor’s instructions”.

“When he was discharged from hospital, the doctor advised him to take treatment from plastic surgeon, take utmost care, and to come after one month for follow up. Clearly the patient has not followed the advice. There is nothing that can be held against the doctor”.

The patient’s complain was dismissed as his folly was laid bare by the Commission.

Source: Order pronounced by Gujarat State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission on 26th March, 2021.