Doctor does not remove healthy appendix, still directed to pay compensation

Published On 2021-11-10 08:47 GMT   |   Update On 2021-11-10 08:47 GMT

Ahmedabad: In a judgment that may raise many eyebrows across the medical fraternity, a Gujarat based doctor has recently been directed to pay compensation to a patient as he did not remove a healthy appendix.

The case was that of an open and shut surgery, where when the doctor put the patient under knife found that the appendix was not inflamed and hence decided not to remove it.

The court has ordered the doctor to pay Rs 25,000 compensation on humanitarian grounds.

After getting information from the doctor that the appendix had not been removed, the patient and his family sued the doctor for wrongfully conducting the "premature operation".

On this, the judicial member of the State Commission, M J Mehta opined that the doctor was the best judge to decide whether an operation is necessary or not, and the decision of the operation was taken by the doctor for the benefit of the patient.

The case goes back to 2012 when the patient, hailing from Titodan village in Mehsana, was suffering from abdominal pain and consulted doctors for the same. He was advised for sonography and the report revealed that the appendix of the patient needed to be removed by operation immediately. Following that, the complainant approached the hospital where a doctor performed anaesthesia; the treating doctor operated on the stomach of the patient and charged Rs 20,000 as cost of expenses.

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Later, when the relatives of the complainant inquired about the appendix, the doctor informed that there was no inflammation of the appendix in the complainant.

Alleging that the doctor put him under the knife wrongfully as there was no inflammation of the appendix, the complainant and his family sued the doctor and the District Consumer Court of Mehsana directed the doctor to pay Rs. 4465/- to the complainant with 9% interest along with Rs 1,00,000/- as compensation.

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However, the doctor challenged the order of the District Commission and the counsel for the doctor contended that diagnoses are a matter of chances and one cannot be 100% sure about whether the operation was required immediately or after some time. The complainant was suffering from abdominal pain and that is why immediate step was required to be taken by the doctor as best decision.

Further, the counsel appearing on the behalf of the doctor submitted medical literature in support of the doctor and pointed out that even though the doctor observed in the report Appendix situation, the said situation can be changed anyhow and thereby such type of situation occurred during the course of performing the operation is normal acceptable situation according to medical literature.

Contending that the decision of the doctor was in the best interest of the patient, the counsel for the doctor further argued that even the district commission in its order had noted that only the operation was premature and there was no mala-fide intention of the doctor.

After looking at the facts and circumstances of the complaint, the State Commission noted that the District Commission had not suggested any negligence on the part of the treating doctor. Further taking note of the facts of the case, the Commission noted that the sonography report indicated towards the presence of appendix and the complainant was suffering from abdominal pain and that is why the doctor performed the operation.

Thus confirming the observation of the District Consumer Court, the Commission noted that there was no need to perform an immediate surgery. However, as the "Doctor is best judge to decide whether to performed the surgery on the spot or not thereby in the benefit of the patient the action taken by the Doctor to remove the appendix."

Modifying the order, the Commission directed the doctor to pay Rs 25,000 with 7% interest on humanitarian ground to the complainant.

To read the Commission order, click on the link below.

https://medicaldialogues.in/pdf_upload/gujarat-appendix-operation-163594.pdf

Also Read: Consumer Court directs hospital, gynaecologist, surgeon to pay Rs 5 lakh compensation

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