Using the same pacemaker almost stops patient’s heartbeat

  • Posted on: February 28, 2018

Suraj was suffering from sick sinus syndrome and approached Dr. Gambhir who suggested that a pacemaker needs to be fitted. Agreeing to the doctor’s advice, Suraj got admitted to the hospital. Surprisingly, the doctor started the procedure before the device was obtained from manufacturer! The doctor waited but had to stitch Suraj back as the device didn’t arrive on time. The pacemaker was finally set after a few days and Suraj thought that was the end of his ailment. But it was not meant to be.

Suraj complained of uneasiness and was prescribed medicines but to no avail. Another surgery was performed during which it was discovered that the pacemaker was infected. Dr. Gambhir, again surprisingly, simply changed the lead and fitted the same pacemaker. The patient didn’t get any relief even as a total of six surgeries were performed during which the placement of pacemaker was shifted.

Being tired of not getting any relief, Suraj approached AIIMS where the real problem was discovered. Using the same pacemaker simply by sterilizing it was the cause of persistent problem. Another pacemaker was set and finally Suraj got relief from a long lasting ailment.

And that was beginning of troubles for Dr. Gambhir as Suraj approached StateConsumer Disputes Redressal Commission, New Delhi and presented facts of the case.

The manufacturer of pacemaker in its defence submitted that the device was delivered the same day it was ordered and any delay on part of the doctor is not their fault. Moreover, the patient faced problem of chewing due to the infection and also because his body didn’t adopt to a foreign body.

The Commission seemed to be shocked in the light of facts. It held Dr. Gambhir guilty on two counts – one for not checking availability of pacemaker before opening the patient and second for using the same infected pacemaker simply by sterilizing it. Both the instances were not as per standard of practice, the Commission ruled as it ordered the doctor to compensate the patient with rupees four lakh.

Source: Order pronounced by State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, New Delhi on 2nd January, 2018.

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