Chennai: The Tamil Nadu State Consumer Redressal Commission has directed Apollo Hospital, 21 Greams Lane, to pay a compensation of Rs 57.6 lakh to the deceased patient’s family, after it found the hospital deficient in providing apt patient care and the doctor negligent, which led to the death of the patient.
The case relates to a 29 year old patient, Abhani Kumar Padhi since deceased , who underwent Haemorrhoidectomy (Piles operation) in the Apollo Hospital, 21 Greams Lane on 30.05.2003.
On 15.10.2003, the deceased attended the Out-Patient Department (OPD) of the hospital for a routine checkup. The Hospital and doctors in their reply stated that One of the deceased’s colleagues, who accompanied him, was informed by the Apollo Hospital authorities that the deceased was in a state of unconscious and was admitted in ICCU for recovery and treatment.
On hearing the same, his parents also the complainants in the case, Narasingh Padhi and Kuri Padhi came down to the hospital It has been alleged that till 02.11.2003 none of the family members or friends of the patient were allowed to see him. The patient was unconscious due to anaesthesia and he was kept on artificial ventilator and other equipments. Later, the hospital authorities informed the parents that their son had suffered brain death and hence there would be no use for continuation of life. On 02.11.2003 and the patient was declared dead at 1.26 p.m.
The family further alleged that when on 03.11.2003 they had sent a letter to the hospital seeking particulars regarding the treatment given to the patient including anaesthesia and other drugs during administration of anaesthesia and during his stay in the ICCU, the hospital had deliberately evaded furnishing the details. Thus, raising suspicion in the minds of the parents that something went wrong in the method or procedure adopted in the matter of administration of anaesthesia because of which the deceased slipped into the state of coma and succumbed to the same.
Hence, alleging that their son had died due to medical negligence exhibited by the hospital and the doctor who treated him, the parents moved the consumer forum.
In response, the respondents, i.e. the hospital and its doctors who treated the patient, filed written versions of their justifications in the said case contending that the allegations against them are totally false and the complaint was filed only with a view to extract money from them.
They contended that the patient had died of brain stem dysfunction due to Sub-arachnoid Haemorrhage despite best treatment given to him and hence there was no deficiency in service on their part.
The hospital narrated that the patient had first come for a Master Health Check up on April 6, 2003 on being referred by his employer. He then visited the hospital on May 30, 2003 with complaints of burning sensation while passing motion for five to six months. Following this, the piles operation was operated upon him, under general anaesthesia, by surgeon Dr N Rama Moorthy. He was discharged the next day.
They claimed that the patient visited Dr Moorthy, again on October 11, 2003 with complaints of pain in rectum and occasional mucus discharge. The victim wanted definite treatment for the pain, hence he was examined under anaesthesia, administered by one Dr Monika De, on October 15, 2003.
The procedure lasted for only 15 minutes and the examination showed no abnormality. The hospital added that the victim was fully conscious when he was shifted to recovery room, but he suddenly suffered respiratory and cardiac arrest and was immediately resuscitated.
A cardiologist and a neurologist attended the patient. A CT scan of brain was taken which showed sub-arachnoid Haemorrhage. The attendant, who was accompanying the patient, was informed about his condition. The patient’s general condition continued to be stable. A test done on October 23, 2003 showed he had severe brain dysfunction. The next day the doctors who treated him informed his family members about the brain death.
The hospital claimed that the family members wished the life support treatment to continue. On November 1, 2003 the family wanted to discontinue the life support and after this it was withdrawn the next day and he was declared dead.
After perusing all the medical records and contentions submitted by both the parties, On the facts and circumstances of the case we are of the considered opinion that the doctrine of Res Ipsa Loquitur would squarely apply to this case.
Because the victim was a young man of 29 years with good health who went to the 1 st opposite partys hospital for a simple post-piles operation check-up with complainants of mild pain and occasional discharge of mucus was taken into the operation theatre on the fateful day of 15.10.2003 only to be declared dead on 02.11.2003. If it is a case of the deceased having gone to the 1 st opposite partys hospital for undergoing some major treatment like CABG liver transplantation kidney transplantation or some other killer disease like cancer etc. and in spite of treatment given by resorting to one line of treatment from various lines of treatment available for that condition and the patient died then the complainants have to specifically prove that the death was due to sheer negligence exhibited by the Doctors who attended on the deceased. Here is a case wherein as stated supra a hale and healthy
The court also noted lack of CPR records
A through perusal of the entire medical records filed by the opposite parties in this case and written versions and the proof affidavits of the opposite parties would reveal that there is no entry or reference whatsoever as to the time at which the patient/deceased suffered cardio respiratory arrest and as to who noticed the same first and at what time the cardio respiratory resuscitation was performed and at what time it had commenced and for how many minutes CPR was done and at what time the heart and lungs started functioning again and who did the CPR. Further there is no entry regarding who did the CPR. It is needless to say that if blood supply and oxygen supply to the brain is stopped for more than 5 minutes then it would cause total damage to the brain resulting in collapse of the patient.
…we cannot brush aside the contention of the complainants that the patient/deceased might have suffered sudden cardio respiratory arrest due to wrong administration of anaesthetics or administration of overdose of anaesthetics resulting in sudden cardio respiratory arrest which went unnoticed by the doctors or supporting staff at the 1 st opposite partys hospital and by the time it was noticed the brain of the patient/deceased got totally damaged…
In the circumstances stated above we are of the view that the opposite parties 1 23 and 4 have not discharged their burden to prove that the deceased had not died due to any negligence exhibited by any of the opposite parties
The bench agreed to the submission made by the complainants and stated,
“We also find acceptance and force in the submission made by the complainants counsel that after all the patient/deceased was examined under anaesthesia on day-care procedure for the purpose of ascertaining the alleged pain at the site of piles surgery and occasional discharge of mucus then there is no necessity for resorting to general anaesthesia and instead local anaesthesia could have been preferred to.”
In its conclusion, the court held the doctors and the hospital guilty of medical negligence and affirmed,
“We are of the view that the complainants are entitled to receive Rs.5764000/- as compensation besides cost of Rs.10000/- payable by the opposite parties 1 2 3 and 4 jointly and severally.”
Attached is the judgement below: