Young patient loses eyesight – Father claims doctor’s treatment was not right

  • Posted on: June 15, 2017

Children are a playful lot. Many times their innocent mischief turns into a mishap – as Prateek found out while he was playing with an innocuous looking stick which accidentally pierced into the right eye.

Prateek was taken by his father to Dr. Kalra the next day, who after thorough diagnoses reported a Tenoconjuctival tear, temporal to the cornea. The doctor sutured the wound and discharged Prateek with an advice to follow up every week for the next six months.

Surprisingly, Prateek and his father visited Dr. Kalra nearly a year and half later, and by then the injury had developed into macular hole. The patient was referred to a Retina specialist, however, his father chose to take him to PGI Chandigarh where a surgery was performed on the injured eye. It was too late as Prateek had lost vision in the right eye by then. It also seemed that his father had lost good sense as well – as he dragged Dr. Kalra to National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, New Delhi. It was alleged that the doctor assured of complete cure while the treatment was going on. However, Dr. Kalra referred Prateek to a Retina specialist as he could not alleviate the persistent problem in the injured eye. My son lost vision due to the doctor’s callousness, we must be compensated and we must have our justice, pleaded patient’s father.

What callousness, the doctor would’ve thought as he presented his side of the story. It was stated that a funds examination by direct and indirect Ophthalmoscopy with scleral indentation was performed when the patient was first brought. The reports of the examination were normal. The Tenoconjuctival tear was sutured with six zero vikryl in the operation theatre under local anesthesia after taking due consent. It was further stated that the patient was not brought for regular follow up as advised, and a macular hole had developed by the time he was brought after nearly a year and half. Furthermore, the patient was immediately referred to a Retina specialist – why the allegations of negligence despite following due diligence, the doctor concluded.

The Commission made some important observations as it began to deliver the ruling. Citing medical literature, it was observed that macular hole develops in the blunt injured eye. Even PGI Chandigarh’s medical records proved that macular hole had developed two weeks before the patient was taken to the doctor after a gap of a year and half. Noting that the patient did not follow up with the doctor as advised, the Commission stated the following: “We are of the view that the doctor gave proper treatment in time and advised properly for follow ups, the patient had good vision in the right eye after suturing. No assurance had been given for future as far as eye sight is concerned in the injured eye as any complications of injury can appear at any date later on. That is why longer follow-ups were advised as also acknowledged by the father of the patient but the he did not follow the instructions. After almost a year and half of initial injury, the patient approached the doctor with a complaint of sudden diminution of vision and it was diagnosed as macular hole in the right eye. Hence, the doctor referred the patient to the Retina specialist after further management. Thus, it is clear that the patient’s father was negligent in not following the treatment instructions of the doctor – his own carelessness caused delay in seeking treatment”.

Dr. Kalra would’ve breathed a deep sigh of relief as the Commission clearly saw what Prateek’s father could not!

Source:Order pronounced by National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, New Delhi on 30th May, 2017