The title of Dr. Dolittle goes to…

  • Posted on: August 05, 2016

Janaki had excruciating pain in the stomach and approached Yashoda Super Speciality Hospital where Dr. Prasad diagnosed her condition as acute cholecystitis. A surgery was performed to remove the gall bladder by Dr. Naresh, three days after which Janaki was discharged from the hospital. Her troubles, however, were far from over.

Immediately after being discharged, the discomfort and unbearable pain returned! Not satisfied with ‘everything is alright’ response from Dr. Naresh, Janaki got admitted to Global Hospital where the doctors diagnosed jaundice, abdomen distension and disruption of CBD at cystic duct – the bile was leaking into the abdominal cavity. Hepatico-jejunostomy was performed by the doctors at Global Hospital after which Janaki’s health normalised in few days.

That was a close call, thought Janaki and decided that she’d not allow Dr. Prasad and Dr. Naresh escape for their apparent negligent conduct. Janaki approached the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, New Delhi, and alleged the doctors of removing the gallbladder without taking an informed consent. She further alleged that her stomach started bulging immediately after the surgery, but Dr. Naresh did not attend to her even once! Although there was persistent pain and discomfort, neither doctors did much to alleviate her suffering. Hence, she had no option but to approach Global Hospital where the doctors suggested that the Dr. Naresh had wrongly fixed the staple at the time of surgery, which eventually led to the leaking of bile causing jaundice. We must not let such callousness go unchecked, pleaded Janaki.

Dr. Prasad and Dr. Naresh seemed indifferent and unfazed by the allegations. They claimed that the patient’s gallbladder had to be removed as she had an inherent tendency of recurring infections. The patient and her relatives were explained about the post-surgery complications and they gave an informed consent for same. The patient’s condition was stable when she came for removal of sutures. However, Dr. Naresh suspected jaundice when he saw yellowish discoloration in the patient’s eyes and advised for LFT and UGI Endocopy, which the patient did not heed to. How can we be responsible for what transpired at Global Hospital, asked the doctors.

The Commission had the answers, and they were all too apparent. It was observed that the even after first surgery, the patient had to visit Global Hospital for further treatment, which points at the fact that the patient was in a bad condition after the surgery. Moreover, Dr. Naresh suspected jaundice yet he did not make any effort to confirm it with tests, further observed the Commission.

Applying the principle of res ipsa loquitur, the Commission stated the following: “It is very clear that the patient was discharged even when her condition was not stable and she had to be admitted almost immediately to Global Hospital for further treatment. The hospital, after carrying out tests detected that there was negligence by Dr. Prasad and Dr. Naresh, as there was disruption of bile duct at the level of cystic duct, which resulted in leakage of bile into abdominal cavity. It is very clear, therefore, that the allegation of medical negligence against Dr. Prasad and Dr. Naresh stands amply proved from the evidence on record”.

All is well that ends well. The doctors of course, wouldn’t have cherished this adage after receiving the flak and the ruling of Commission.

Source: Order pronounced by State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Haryana on 27th May, 2016.