Wife’s unfortunate death makes distraught husband blind to the facts

  • Posted on: July 05, 2019

Patients and their family suing doctors and hospitals for all kind of reasons is not new. This case is an apt example of the fact that they can also allege based on half-baked knowledge of medical science.

Mrs. Gupta was pregnant and had approached Ford Hospital where a C-section was performed and a baby was delivered. However, her condition deteriorated soon and suffered cardiac arrest, hypoxia ischemic encephalopathy and was subsequently shifted to ICU. She was given CPR but her vitals were dwindling. Hence, she was shifted to a higher centre when she unfortunately died.

The husband was inconsolable. He sued the hospital and alleged that the decision to perform C-section for delivery was a wrong one as she had an abortion few years ago and this fact was informed to the doctors. It was further alleged that the hospital and its doctors failed to administer oxygen during the procedure, which is why the patient suffered hypoxia ischemic encephalopathy! It was also alleged that hypoxia ischemic encephalopathy can only happen due to lack of oxygen!

The hospital denied allegations and stated that C-section was performed considering the very fact that the patient had undergone an abortion earlier and the risk increases manifold if a patient with such history does not deliver in time. It was further stated that patient was administered oxygen during the procedure which was an uneventful one, but she suddenly suffered cardia arrest. The patient was resuscitated in the ICU and her husband was immediately informed that she needs to be taken to a higher centre for better management.

The Commission rejected the husband’s claim that patient suffered hypoxia ischemic encephalopathy due to lack of oxygen. Citing medical literature, it was observed that it can happen due to several reasons, including cardiac arrest. From medical records, the Commission further observed that the patient suffered cardiac arrest due to amniotic fluid embolism, an uncommon complication. Hence, the hospital was ruled not guilty.

Source: Order pronounced by National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, New Delhi on 23rd April, 2019.