Think twice before advising medication on telephone

  • Posted on: July 27, 2018

Dr. Chaturvedi couldn’t believe his luck as he was held negligent and ordered to compensate the patient with one lakh rupees. He believed he had followed due diligence, but the law clearly stated otherwise.

Yadram had brought his son to the doctor with complain of high grade fever. Dr. Chaturvedi diagnosed the boy to be suffering from gastroenteritis and pyrexia and administered injections to control the fever. However, in some time rashes appeared all over the boy’s body and his condition deteriorated.

The worried father called the doctor from a local chemist shop and apprised him of his son’s deteriorating condition. With good intentions, Dr. Chaturvedi advised some medications over the phone. After taking those medicines, the patient’s condition deteriorated even further and he was taken to SMS Hospital where he unfortunately died. A post mortem was conducted which reported excessive Quinine toxicity.

The distraught father approached the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, New Delhi and laid bare his heart and alleged the doctor for prescribing wrong medicines which caused his young son’s death.

Dr. Chaturvedi was troubled by the allegation. He stated as a matter of fact that the injections that were administered initially were anti-emetic and anti-allergic. There was no chance that they could have caused the patient’s death. Moreover, the patient was treated by some other doctor, most probably a quack, before he was brought to him. If anything, the quack’s treatment could be the cause of the unfortunate demise of the boy, concluded Dr. Chaturvedi.

Going by the medical records, the Commission almost immediately concurred with the doctor. It was observed that the injections administered by doctor were indeed for treating of fever, loose motions, to avoid dehydration and allergic reactions. Moreover, presence of excessive Quinine in the patient’s body also suggested that it was given by the doctor who first treated the patient.

Just as Dr. Chaturvedi sighed a breath of relief, the Commission observed that he was negligent too. For advising medication over the telephone without checking the patient’s condition personally.

This case was a lesson for both - the patient’s father who understood the real reason behind his son’s death and the doctor who will do well to not prescribe medications without checking the patient in person.

Source: Order pronounced by National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, New Delhi on 7th January, 2018.