Treatment without diagnoses – A costly affair

  • Posted on: March 19, 2018

Reeling under high temperature, a teenage patient was taken by his father to the doctor who prescribed anti-TB drugs, shockingly without noting any clinical symptoms. The patient didn’t get relief from the medicines and the fever continued to spike and hence he was hospitalised. The anti-TB drugs were stopped after detection of high lever enzymes, but it seemed it was too little and too late.

The patient was transferred to a higher centre for better care and management, where FNAC of cervical lymph mode was done that reported reactive lymphadenitis. However, the patient didn’t respond to the treatment and he went into coma. He was again transferred to another hospital on the father’s request, where he unfortunately died.

The patient’s father had lost his son but not the courage to take the matter to a court of law. He approached the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, West Bengal and presented facts of the case. It was alleged that the doctor prescribed anti-TB drugs without making any provisional diagnosis or without noting any clinical symptoms. What’s more is that he didn’t even do anything when side effects of the drugs were noticed.

It was also alleged that the injection administered at the hospital was the reason the patient went into coma and neither a consent was taken before administering it nor any explanation was given regarding its side effects. The doctor and hospitals ought to be booked for negligence, pleaded the patient’s father.

The treating doctors and hospitals presented a defiant stand. It was stated that the patient’s father didn’t mention how the treatment ought to have progressed. He is just blaming us for his loss. We tried our best, but patient’s death is not due to any negligence, claimed the defending parties.

The Commission had all the records before it to silence the wrong claims. At the outset, it was observed that the doctor had indeed started anti-TB treatment without making any diagnosis. That itself was against the standard of duty of care. If he suspected TB, Sputum test, Trans Bronchial Lung Biopsy, etc. ought to have been advised. What’s more is that the patient was not informed about the prognosis. Citing medical literature on TB, it was also observed that Drug Observe Therapy, a six months regimen required for treatment of TB, was also not followed.The Commission further observed that the hospital was also negligent in treating the patient as was evident from the fact that he went into coma immediately after the injection was administered.

Both the hospitals and the doctor were held negligent and were ordered to pay a compensation of more than twenty one lakh collectively.

Source: Order pronounced by State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, West Bengal on 22nd February, 2018.