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Cotton Swab left during surgery: 3 Doctors have to face Criminal Trial says Madras High Court


Cotton Swab left during surgery: 3 Doctors have to face Criminal Trial says Madras High Court

The doctors were booked under the IPC Sections 284 (negligent conduct with respect to poisonous substance) and 3338 (causing grievous hurt by act endangering life).

Chennai: Three doctors, who had been booked under various IPC sections on account of alleged medical negligence will now have to face criminal trial; since the Madras High Court has dismissed their petitions seeking relief on the criminal case booked against them.

The doctors were accused of negligence for leaving a cotton swab inside the abdomen of a woman during surgery.

The case concerns a woman who went to a hospital located at Tondiarpet for a cesarean section-cum-sterilisation. Following the surgery, she suffered acute pain in her stomach after which she approached another hospital. During an ultrasound scan, it was observed that an alien object was present in the belly of the patient due to which she had developed abdominal sepsis. It was found that a cotton swab was left inside during the last operation.

The husband of the patient filed a complaint against the three doctors, the hospital and obstetricians for allegedly leaving the swab during surgery.

The doctors were booked under the IPC Sections 284 (negligent conduct with respect to poisonous substance) and 3338 (causing grievous hurt by act endangering life).

The medical professionals and the hospital owner moved to the Madras High Court and filed a petition to dismiss the criminal case booked against them.

Read Also: Doctors neglecting professional nobility: Madras HC slams Medico for Violation Govt Service Conditions

The Court went through the entire matter. It referred to the judgment given by the Supreme Court in a case where it had mentioned that the doctors are needed to be protected from frivolous and unjust prosecution.

However, in the present case, Justice Ilanthiraiyan said: “But in the case on hand, due to the negligence of the petitioners, a foreign body was kept inside the abdomen of the victim,” quotes the Hindu.

The petition was dismissed by the Madras High Court where it mentioned that there were sufficient materials to prosecute them for the charge of having negligently left behind a foreign body, inside the abdomen, which had to be removed through another surgery.

The court pointed out that the petitioners would have to necessarily face trial, therefore the court refused to quash their plea.

The High Court further directed the trial court to hear the case uninfluenced by the observations made by him in the order dismissing the quash petition.

Source: with inputs
13 comment(s) on Cotton Swab left during surgery: 3 Doctors have to face Criminal Trial says Madras High Court

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  1. Utter nonsense how can a doctor b a criminal for this swab . Salman khan car crushes people on road hes declared acquitted by court , doc mistakenly leaves a swab and hes declared a criminal. Wah mere insaaf wah . Hilarious judgment. Judge saab try to spend one night in emergency deptt then u ll come to know the reality. Hope more judgements like this can vanish the medical careers of more and moredoctors .

  2. user
    Dr Shobha Srivastava April 10, 2019, 2:14 am

    I am surprised that the fact that a swab was missing was not detected at the swab count before the abdomen was closed. I do hope a swab count was done? It is shared responsibility but the buck stops with the senior most surgeon.

  3. Leaving a swab/instrument is a team negligence. It is the responsibility of the doctors and importantly the scrub nurse.As a surgeon, we are busy with the technical challenge of the procedure. Scrub nurse should be vigilant and count the swabs and instruments. Of course, it our responsibility to make sure nothing is left behind. Do any of us really want to leave anything behind? The answer is no. Learning point is surgeon also need to do bloody scrub nurse job after tasking surgery and start counting swabs & instruments.
    Why didn\’t they prosecute scrub nurse ? They should prosecute the whole team to create fear in the other members.Are else they don\’t care. The judge should need a posting in a major theatre to learn the events of surgery. This is not a crime but definitely negligence. Lets start counting swabs & instruments!!. God save this profession.

  4. Unfortunately, our esteemed judiciary only know to pass biased judgments against the medical fraternity,sitting in their chambers.
    It is high time they have a personal in theater experience, to know the sequence of events, and what it feels to be your feet for 6-8 hours at a stretch. No wonder the Supreme Court passed such strict guide lines to the judiciary.
    Isn\’t it a luxury to sit in the luxurious commentator box and pass severe strictures against the poor batsman out there in the middle.

  5. user
    Dr Anupam Sahni April 7, 2019, 8:30 pm

    No doctor leaves any foreign body inside the body of any patient knowingly. How can it be then tried on criminal lines?

  6. on second thought it could be a vaginal swab which migrated. there are such cases reported in literature.