The recent judgement pronounced by the Karimnagar District Consumer Forum saw the forum exonerating the operating surgeon, but holding guilty the attending doctor for deficiency of service that led to patient developing infection and losing vision in one eye.
The case concerns a patient who in the year 2008, went to Dr.G.Ram Babu’s Hansika Hospital with complaint of cataract in his right eye and was advised surgery for the same. The patient was operated by Doctor S. Vasudeva Reddy, Cornea Lasik & Phaco Surgeon who performed injection less Cataract surgery and the patient was discharged from the hospital. After two days, the complainant was suffering severe pain in the eye and approached Dr G Rambabu also an eye specialist. He prescribed some medicines even though after using such medicine the patient did not recover from the pain. The patient then went to Dr Reddy, who referred him to L.V.Prasad Eye Institute at Hyderabad. At LVPEI, the patient was admitted as an in patient as there was a infection in his eye and the doctors informed that his Cornea was also infected and needs an operation. The complainant was operated twice and was discharged on 14-08-2008. As on the date of operation done by the opposite party no.1, the patient lost his vision in the right eye.
Stating that due to the sheer negligence and failure of said operation done by the doctors the complainant lost his vision in the right eye, face got disfigured, unable to do his personal work on his own, and needs attendant to accompany him wherever he goes, the patient filed a complaint with the Karimnagar Consumer Forum demanding compensation of Rs 5 lakhs.
In their response, both the doctors denied the averments of medical negligence.
Dr Reddy, Cornea Lasik & Phaco Surgeon in his reply stated he is an Opthalmic Surgeon at Hyderabad and visits on request of Dr.G.Ram Babu and any Ophthalmic doctor at Jagityal or near place to conduct operation to the patient of the doctor concerned. It is specific understanding and condition that the pre and post operative care has to be undertaken by the doctor concerned and that the patient shall not consult him for any subsequent follow up treatment or suggestion for the purpose of the alleged complaints. With these conditions he attends to the operations arranged by the doctors concerned at their places but not at his hospital. He further submitted that though he conducts operations at various hospitals, the pre operative preparation and post operative care are taken by the concerned hospitals.
Even in this case, the preparation for the operation was done by Dr Rambabu. On the date of the operation he conducted 2-3 operations and all went well including complainant. The subsequent activities and the advices taking care of the patient was only by the Dr.G.Rambabu and Dr Reddy is no way concerned with the same. The discharge card filed by the complainant also establishes the said fact. It is false to allege that He discharged the complainant. He further submitted that Dr Rambabu took care of the complainant and after satisfying himself about the health condition of the patient he discharged him and advised the patient to take all the precautions that the patient to take and follow in subsequent days.
He further submitted that the precautions were written on the reverse side of the discharge card in Telugu to understand the patients and to follow the same strictly. Later Dr.Rambabu referred complainant about the pain in the eye to him after testing him, he informed that there is infection in the eye due to not taking necessary care and advised to get admitted at L.V.Prasad institute at Hyderabad.
Dr Rambabu in his response also denied any negligence. He informed about the treatment of the patient at the hospital, instating that all necessary precautions including testing and pre-medication were taken and even Dr Reddy was satisfied by the Pre- operative care taken and sterilization of operation theatre. The operation went successfully. The patient also visited the hospital the next day after the operation and stated that there was no problem and the vision was very good on that day. The patient again came after two days complaining of pain in the eye and after examination the doctor found inaction and hence referred him to Dr Reddy
The complainant did not get infection at the time of conducting operation at the hospital. If infection was set in the vision will not be good immediately after operation was conducted. The complainant did not take necessary post operative precautions as suggested by the doctor . The doctor stated that the patient himself is responsible for said infection and loss of vision of his right eye. As per submissions given, L.V.Prasad Eye Hospital doctors also did not find any fault against the opposite parties. It is fungus infection which is contaminated after discharge, and he did not protect his eye form fungal infection which occurred at his house. The first surgery was conducted on the complainant himself and later three others were operated. If fungus infection was caused in the hospital it would have been caused to all other patients, their vision is very good and did not develop any kind of infection. There is known complication of getting infection of 0.01 of cases reported.
After going through the submissions the court observed
….To support the contention of opposite parties that the complainant himself is responsible for the cause of infection in right eye, no document is filed. Though the complainant was able to see up to 6-m to 7-m on the date of operation, but when the complainant approached opposite party no.2 ( Dr Rambabu ) complaining pain and watering in the eye the opposite party no. 2 could have immediately took steps for the infection caused in the operated eye so that it would have been controlled and he would have not lost the vision. Though the operation was performed by opposite party no.1, but the said operation is done in the hospital (Hansika Hospital) of opposite party no.2 and the complainant also first approached opposite party no.2 ( Dr Rambabu ) for pain in the eye, as such there is deficiency of service on the part of opposite party no.2…..
Relying on a previous judgement in a similar case, the court held deficiency on the part of Dr Rambabu and directed him to pay the Complainant a sum of Rs.4,00,000/- towards compensation along with costs of Rs.10,000/- within one month from the date of receipt of this order. The case against the specialist Dr Reddy was dismissed.