What a ‘bone of contention’!

  • Posted on: November 03, 2022

An NRI from Australia suffered an injury on his right knee. He approached the orthopaedic surgeon who performed a procedure. But the patient continued to experience pain thereafter for longer than expected.

He sued the doctor and alleged that instead of treating lateral meniscus (LM), the orthopaedic surgeon treated wrongly and operated on anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).

The doctor denied the allegation and stated that MRI report showed complex grade III tear involving body of LM. It was not seen during arthroscopy, but the ACL was defective and it had to be reconstructed. It was a cartilage defect which was seen during arthroscopy, but this defect was not mentioned in MRI report which would further require mosaic plasty which was not available at the hospital that time.

Citing medical literature, the doctor also stated that MRI is not 100% correct. He contended that after the patient was discharged in a satisfactory condition and there was no negligence or deficiency in service.

Citing medical literature and medical records, the Commission dismissed the case against orthopaedic surgeon, and observed the following:

“No tear was found in ACL in MRI report and only complex grade III tear involving body of LM was detected. The patient has relied upon the radiological report done in Australia. It was reported as a horizontal oblique tear through the body of LM and a radial tear through free margin of the body and anterior horn of meniscus”.

“Therefore, patient was under impression that the ACL reconstruction was unnecessarily performed whereas LM was injured. Doctor’s clinical and operative notes clearly establish that he performed arthroscopic medial meniscal excision and ACL. It should be borne in mind that the radiological investigations are indirect evidence, whereas clinical assessment and arthroscopy are directly helpful to arrive at proper diagnosis”.

Source: Order pronounced by National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission on 1st June, 2022.