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NCDRC Enhances Compensation From Rs 3L To Rs 50L For Lasik Eye Surgery Gone Wrong [Read Order]

akanksha jain
27 April 2019 2:48 PM GMT
NCDRC Enhances Compensation From Rs 3L To Rs 50L For Lasik Eye Surgery Gone Wrong [Read Order]
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"In today's day and age, Lasik Surgeries are being advertised to be extremely simple and uncomplicated…Medical Professionals involved in performing Lasik Surgeries should at least explain the common complications like Dry Eyes, for example, prior to the performance of the Surgery," the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) has said while enhancing to Rs 50 lakh a...

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"In today's day and age, Lasik Surgeries are being advertised to be extremely simple and uncomplicated…Medical Professionals involved in performing Lasik Surgeries should at least explain the common complications like Dry Eyes, for example, prior to the performance of the Surgery," the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) has said while enhancing to Rs 50 lakh a compensation of Rs 3 lakh awarded to a Hyderabad-based woman who suffered irreparable dip in her vision after undergoing a lasik surgery to remove spectacles.

Reiterating that cases involving disability are in many respects even more tragic than cases of death, a bench of NCDRC president Justice RK Agrawal and member M Shreesha enhanced the compensation awarded by the state considering that the complainant's eyes had been effected permanently leading to life management stress issues, feeling of disability, mental trauma, personal degradation, loss of opportunities with respect to marriage and loss of a promising future.

"The agony caused by the disability on account of this event in the Complainant's life cannot undermined. In Nizam's Institute of Medical Sciences Vs. Prasanth S. Dhananka, Hon'ble Supreme Court emphasized that cases involving disability are in many respects even more tragic than cases of death, particularly where the disability is of a nature involving a life long condition of despair and helplessness," noted the NCDRC in its judgment penned by M Shreesha.

In the instant case, the complainant, 31, had challenged the Andhra Pradesh State Commission's order passed in December, 2012, whereby she was awarded a compensation of Rs 3 lakh.

The woman was suffering from short sight problems and used to take treatment from Maxivision Laser Centre since 2001. She had developed acquaintance with the doctors there. One of the doctors named Ravi Shanker suggested that she should undergo lasik surgery to be able to see without spectacles.

The complainant informed the commission that she was not briefed about the risks involved and was rather assured that it was a safe procedure.

The complainant agreed to undergo the surgery on February 16, 2008, but was operated upon by another doctor despite her insisting that Dr Ravi Shanker should perform the surgery.

Post surgery, the complainant experienced loss of vision, clarity and suffered severe glare, contra sensitivity, hazy vision and light distortion. Dr Shanker made a note of wrinkles in the corneal flap but did nothing to correct it.

Devastated, she consulted an eye clinic in Chennai and was informed that due to wrinkles in the corneal flaps there was loss in her vision which cannot be improved and that corrective surgery should have been done immediately after the detection of wrinkles.

the commission also perused the consent form and noted that it had no mention that the complainant may suffer from common complications such as dry eyes or any other complications (of the lasik surgery).

"We are of the considered view that the aforementioned Consent Form cannot be said to be in consonance with the ratio which the Hon'ble Supreme Court has laid down in Samira Kohli Vs. Dr. Prabha…A doctor has to seek and secure the consent of the patient before commencing a "treatment" (the term "treatment" includes surgery also).The consent so obtained should be real and valid, which means that : the patient should have the capacity and competence to consent; his consent should be voluntary; and his consent should be on the basis of adequate information concerning the nature of the treatment procedure, " so that he knows what he is consenting to.

"An Informed Consent ought to have been taken from the Complainant with all the common complications which may arise after Lasik even the issue of 'Dry Eyes' which admittedly is a common complication, has not been mentioned in the consent form to have given an opportunity to the Complainant to exercise her choice of going into the Lasik Surgery or not. Therefore viewed from the ratio laid down by the Hon'ble Supreme Court in the aforementioned judgment, we are of the considered opinion that the Lasik Centre is deficient in service in not taking 'Informed Consent' from the Complainant. In today's day and age, Lasik Surgeries are being advertised to be extremely simple and uncomplicated. We are of the considered view that Medical Professionals involved in performing Lasik Surgeries should at least explain the common complications like Dry Eyes, for example, prior to the performance of the Surgery," said the bench.

"The Post Lasik complications which occurred were neither explained to the Patient nor were the requisite steps taken to educate the Patient about the prognosis, to enable her to exercise her choice of opting for any line of treatment which perhaps would rectify the situation. The Treating Doctor not only kept her in the dark about the treatment for microstriae and the prognosis thereof, but also did not take reasonable care to avoid decentred ablation," it held.

Before enhancing the compensation, the NCDRC noted that the complainant is a postgraduate in MBA, Osmania University, and passed in the division of First Class and was earning Rs.30,000 as monthly salary working in a private firm. She also holds a degree in Genetics and is a specialist in Finance and Systems in MBA. The Commission also awarded her a cost of Rs 25,000. 

Read the Order Here 


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