What’s the cost of cotton? Half a crore!

  • Posted on: 06th January, 2022

The gynaecologist performed C-section and a healthy baby boy was delivered. The child was hale and hearty, but the mother not so much.

She experienced sharp pain in the abdomen few days later and approached the hospital where medicines were prescribed. But to no avail. The pain grew in intensity, hence she again visited gynaecologist at the hospital. The patient was now referred to a specialist. But even he could not accurately diagnose the cause behind abdominal pain.

After several days of suffering, the patient visited another hospital where tests were conducted, which, to eveeyone’s surprise, reported a cotton bundle inside the abdomen. Her condition had deteriorated severely by then as she could not pass stool.

She was advised to undergo a surgery immediately but declined it for some personal reasons. It was eventually performed after about six months.

After going through this harrowing experience, the patient sued the hospital and gynaecologist alleging medical negligence.

The healthcare providers stated in defence that the patient had undergone C-section about a year ago, hence, it was possible that the cotton bundle was left inside her abdomen at that time.

This matter reached the State Medical Council and Medical Council of India. While the former absolved the hospital and gynaecologist from any mistake, the latter held them negligent.

The Commission went through medical records, reports of State Medical Council & Medical Council of India, and stated the following:

“We have seen the enquiry report submitted by panel of doctors of the State Medical Council. What they have held in the report is ridiculous. They have said that the mop recovered from the private part of patient is different from the mop used by doctor. Hence it has not been said that this mop has been used by the doctor. By going through this report, we are of the opinion that this report has been submitted to favour the gynaecologist. After the decision of Medical Council of India there is nothing to presume or nothing to say except that the gynaecologist is guilty of showing negligence, deficiency in service and professional misconduct”.

“The hospital and gynaecologist have also argued that the patient was operated before a year and it may happen that this mop might be left at that time. If for the sake of argument, it is presumed that this mop was left during first C-section, during second procedure the doctor was unable to detect it and if she detected it, she left it unattended. It is not a relevant argument because the patient did not complain of any pain after the first procedure and she continuously suffered from pain and visited various doctors after the second C-section”.

The hospital and gynaecologist were jointly ordered to pay fifty lakh rupees in compensation!

Source: Order pronounced by Uttar Pradesh State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission on 30th September, 2021.