Why blame the hospital? Hep-C can be contracted from insulin needles also!

  • Posted on: January 12, 2023

The patient – a seventy-four-year-old senior citizen – was taken to neurosurgeon at a reputed hospital. He complained of headache and dizziness. The doctor performed tests and diagnosed pituitary gland tumour.

An operation was performed, and the patient was discharged three days thereafter with advice to take pain-killer and to visit for follow-up.

The patient’s stool was found stained with blood and hence he was readmitted after ten days or so. Several tests were performed but the cause of bleeding from lower gastro-intestinal (GI) tract remained obscure. He was admitted for a fortnight during which blood was transfused.

Tests conducted during the second hospitalization revealed that patient had contracted Hepatitis-C, which necessitated hospitalization the third time.

Newer complications were gripping the septuagenarian. The unfortunate old man suffered a stroke and right lip palsy. He was discharged after few days, and his family took him to other hospitals for treatment in hope of a cure. But it was not to be.

The head of family suffered cardiac arrest, leaving behind him heartbroken loving family members.

The hospital, neurosurgeon and team of doctors were sued. The family alleged that the doctors prescribed pain killer without taking into account GI issues or evaluating past history, and also miserably failed to report and treat Hepatitis-C on time.

The family’s other allegation was that the patient contracted Hepatitis-C at the hospital which led to fatal complications.

The hospital and doctors submitted voluminous medical records to substantiate their side of the story.

After perusing the treatment charts, doctors’ and nurse’s notes, the Commission observed:

“It is pertinent to note that the patient was regularly taking insulin injections and underwent dental treatment on few occasions. Therefore, in our view Hepatitis-C infection in short period cannot be attributed to the blood transfusion. As per medical literature, the average incubation period of Hepatitis-C is about six weeks whereas in the instant case, the blood was transfused two weeks back”.

“Furthermore, the patient or attendants did not give any past history of bleeding. They concealed the fact from the treating doctors. The neurosurgeon stated that the patient did not give any past history of GI bleed, and there was no apparent reason for him to inquire about the same and as such, when patient was discharged, he was prescribed the painkiller. Moreover, after third discharge, the patient took treatment at different hospitals and died about two years thereafter”.

Based on the aforementioned facts, the Commission dismissed allegations and case against the hospital, neurosurgeon and other doctors.

Source:Order pronounced by National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission on 23rd August, 2022.