Sensitivity towards patient’s relatives a must – Expert Committee

  • Posted on: June 28, 2019

Hospitals ought to be more sensitive towards the patient’s family and attendants. Especially if the patient is serious and admitted in intensive care. In this case, while the hospital was not held guilty of negligence, a strong remark was made for not being transparent about patient’s condition and progress.

The patient had approached the doctor with complain of pain in the waist for a long time. The doctor diagnosed it as spondylolisthesis L4 over L5 and advised a surgery for same. The patient and her relatives were counselled about the planned surgery and an informed consent was taken.

During the procedure, the patient suffered acute pulmonary embolism and despite best efforts she could not be saved.

The shocked family sued the hospital for being negligent in performing the procedure. However, their main allegation was that they were not informed about the progress even once during seven hours of the procedure

The hospital in defence stated that the operating surgeon could not meet the patient’s attendants as he was busy performing the surgery.

The case was sent to an expert committee who found no negligence on either the hospital or the surgeon’s part. However, they did state that “the doctors should have communicated the gravity of the situation to patient’s attendants from time to time maintaining transparency about progression of treatment”.

The Commission agreed with the expert committee’s views and held that patient did not die due to negligence but due to acute pulmonary embolism. Hence, the hospital was not held negligent.

Source: Order pronounced by State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, West Bengal on 10th April, 2019

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