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Cotton Swab left in thigh: Hospital, Doctor directed to pay 5 lakh Compensation

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medical dialogues

Indore: A city-based doctor and hospital have been asked by District Consumer Forum to collectively pay compensation of Rs 5 lakh for allegedly leaving cotton swab in the thigh while conducting an operation for gangrene.

The case concerned a patient from Panna District who consulted a doctor after observing his left foot’s second toe was turning black in January 2015. The patient was later admitted to a hospital in Indore from 31st January to 2nd February 2015. The patient was then referred to the Curewell Hospital Private Limited for treatment.

After the check up the patient was told that he had gangrene and so there was a need to remove his toe. The patient underwent a surgery on 4th February when the toe was removed. Four days after the operation, the patient observed blackness in other fingers of the toe.

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The patient then approached the Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram where he went operation for the second time on 11th February where his other toes were removed. He was informed that during the last operation a cotton swab was left in the thighs which caused infection in the other fingers of his left leg.

The patient was one again admitted to the Fortis Hospital for the third operation when his entire foot was cut off.

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It was further observed that the nerves were shrinking and losing their functions after which he was again admitted to the Fortis Hospital where forth operation was conducted to insert cells to his body.

The patient then filed a complaint in the consumer forum where he alleged that it was due to the negligence of the doctors in Curewell Hospital that he had to lose his foot and had become physically challenged.

The forum asked for the response from the opposite parties in regard to the alleged medical negligence. The doctor denied all the allegation of negligence from their side. He said that the patient came to them when the condition reached a serious stage. He said that ‘no cotton swab was left in the thigh of the patient during the operation’. He further added that there was no negligence but it was necessary.

The Court went through the entire matter and sought expert opinion from MGM Medical College Indore which stated that according to the records provided to by the surgery department, the operation conducted by Dr Baxi was correct. However, at the hospital in Delhi, a cotton swab was found in the old injury.

The forum pointed out that during the second surgery, left femoropopliteal thrombrctomy under GA was conducted. The summary report mentioned ‘Wound Infection in the previous incision “surgical swab” was removed from the thigh incision’.

The forum pointed out that before coming to the Fortis hospital for an operation, the patient already had undergone surgery in the Carewell hospital and the cotton swab that appeared during the treatment procedure was due to the negligence from the side of the opponent parties.

The court stated that even though the discharge summary clearly mentioned that the patient developed chronic gangrene due to which his foot was cut off. Therefore, the leg may have been cut off because of gangrene, not because of the swab. The expert from MGM Medical College Indore clearly mentioned that the operation done at Carewell Hospital was appropriate,however the Fortis Hospital showed the presence of cotton swab during treatment.

In the light of presence of cotton swab, the forum disregarded the expert opinion and directed the doctor and the hospital to pay compensation of Rs 5 lakh, Rs 10,000 for mental harassment and Rs 1000 against litigation cost.


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Source: Self

7 comment(s) on Cotton Swab left in thigh: Hospital, Doctor directed to pay 5 lakh Compensation

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  1. So confusing article. One toe was amputated, but cotton swab was found in the thigh.

  2. Swab found in thigh and not foot.howcome.amputation was of toe.

  3. Then what about judges who gives wrong verdicts & later challenged in higher courts??? How to believe the all those verdict of judges who recently given clean chit for ayodhya,Gujarat,Mecca masjid bomb blasts convicts …and appointed in the party after retirement….?

  4. For any medical neglignce all the 4 elements of negligence, Namely the 1. duty to care, 2 Breach of that duty,3. proximate connection between the breach of duty and out come and 4 the damage caused by such breach in duty. the present case appears to be a case of ischemic gangrene probably due to out flow disease. and the prognosis of such cases is bad and the sucess of femero popleteal bypass is at the best 30% . It appears that the bypass was undertaken only as a salvage procedure. the presence or absence of the subcutaneous swab is unlikely to have influenced the outcome in this case and the second opinion given by the experts is obviously correct. In this case there is no proximate connection between the left swab and the damage caused. the damage caused is related to the natural history of the disease. thus the 3rd and 4th elements of the negligence charge are not substantiated. the technical and factual defence is not adequately presented except the request for expert 2nd opinion which the court had disregarded siting no reasons for disregarding the expert opinion. Presence or detection of swab by it self is not negligence unless it was proved that the same has proximate connection with the damage caused. In appropriate comments by the medical professionals at the fortis is the cause of this litigation and is a good example of \” jousting\”. any way what is the proof that the left over swab belonged to the blamed hospital, It is probable and possible that the same was left while dressing the wound later on at a different place. It is the resoponsibility for the complainant to prove that the swab belonged to the hospital which was blamed. MOst of the times the facts of intervention by a compounder, nurse or a dresser is concealed by the patient.

  5. I fail to understand how a cotton swab can reach the thigh while only a toe amputation is performed. Thigh is nowhere near the field of surgery.

  6. user
    Pratibha Singhal April 15, 2019, 9:48 am

    If the expert opinion of medical college is to disregarded it is not worth taking expert opinions Should be challenged in higher court.