18 Sep 2023 10:00 AM GMT
Recently, the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission bench comprising of Subhash Chandra (Presiding Member) held a doctor at Delhi Nursing Home, Bathinda liable for negligence when a patient's gall bladder was wrongly removed during laparoscopic surgery without her consent. The National Commission concluded the doctor had acted negligently by failing to diagnose the...
Recently, the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission bench comprising of Subhash Chandra (Presiding Member) held a doctor at Delhi Nursing Home, Bathinda liable for negligence when a patient's gall bladder was wrongly removed during laparoscopic surgery without her consent. The National Commission concluded the doctor had acted negligently by failing to diagnose the patient's perforated appendix and neglecting to refer her to a specialist. Consequently, the doctor was directed to pay Rs 3 lakh in compensation to the patient, who was incorrectly diagnosed and operated on, resulting in her becoming bedridden.
Brief Facts of the Case:
Ms. Arti (“patient”) and her husband visited Delhi Nursing Home, Bhatinda (“Nursing Home”), in 2011 due to her complaint of abdominal pain on the right side. The doctor at the nursing home advised an ultrasound scan, which indicated gallbladder stones. Subsequently, the doctor recommended laparoscopic surgery to remove these stones within 3-4 months. However, due to the patient having a 10-month-old child at that time, she postponed the operation.
In 2012, the patient and her husband returned to the same nursing home, and the doctor recommended an emergency operation to remove gallbladder stones. The surgery was conducted, but the patient was discharged without any relief. She returned soon after with severe pain. The doctor referred her to a Gastroenterologist, who diagnosed bile leakage from the Central Bile Duct (CBD) based on a CT scan. A CBD stent was inserted to address the leakage, and the patient was discharged. She continued to experience severe abdominal pain, leading to further consultations and lab tests at different medical facilities.
Ultimately, the patient was admitted to Daya Nand Medical College and Hospital, Ludhiana, where she underwent major surgery to address complications allegedly arising from the incorrect surgery and wrongly inserted CBD stent. The patient had subsequent consultations and surgeries due to persistent abdominal pain. Aggrieved, the patient filed a consumer complaint in the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, Bhatinda (“District Commission”).
She argued that the doctor who conducted the laparoscopic surgery lacked the competence to perform such surgeries and did not provide the necessary documentation to prove his qualifications and experience in modern laparoscopic techniques. The doctor held an MS in General Surgery but did not possess specific laparoscopic qualifications. The patient further contended that the laparoscopic surgery was performed without conducting essential tests, such as BT, CT, TLC, etc. and without taking requisite X-rays and ultrasounds on the day of the operation. She claimed that she had incurred significant expenses amounting to Rs 2,54,000 for medicines, tests, doctors' fees, diet, and other related costs due to the incorrect diagnosis and treatment. She also argued that the incorrect surgery and subsequent treatment left her physically incapacitated and unable to carry out daily activities.
The nursing home argued that the doctor who conducted the laparoscopic surgery was qualified and experienced in laparoscopic surgeries, having performed over 5,000 such procedures. They stated that he had also worked as a Laparoscopic Surgeon for three years at a prestigious hospital in New Delhi. The nursing home further contended that the surgery was conducted based on a diagnosis of gallbladder stones, which was supported by the ultrasound scan. They emphasized that the doctor's expertise in laparoscopic surgery justified the procedure.
The District Commission allowed the complaint and ordered the nursing home to pay Rs. 3,00,000/- as compensation for negligence. However, the patient challenged this order in the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Punjab (“State Commission”), seeking an enhancement in compensation. The State Commission, however, dismissed the complaint and held that post-operative complications cannot be ascribed to the doctors. Consequently, the patient filed a revision petition with the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (“NCDRC”).
Observations by the Commission:
The NCDRC held against the order of the State Commission as in the patient’s case, the doctor concluded a wrong diagnosis and continued to treat the medical condition on that basis. The doctors ended up removing the patient’s gall bladder instead of performing a laparoscopic surgery. This was against the patient’s consent and the NCDRC held it to be against medical ethics. Resultantly, the NCDRC upheld the District Commission’s order and concluded that the doctor was negligent and failed to diagnose the patient's perforated appendix and did not refer her to a specialist. However, the patient’s plea to enhance the compensation was rejected as the NCDRC deemed the amount determined by the District Commission fair and reasonable. Consequently, the doctor was directed to pay Rs 3 lakh in compensation to the patient, who was incorrectly diagnosed and operated on, resulting in her becoming bedridden.
Case: Arti vs. Dr. Gagandeep Goyal & 3 Ors.
Case No.: RP/2453/2016
Advocate for the Appellant: Mr Pawan Kumar Ray
Advocate for the Respondent: Mr K.G. Sharma & Mr S.K. Roy
Click Here To Read/Download Order