New Delhi: 17 years after the incident, the Delhi State Consumer Forum was recently seen ruling in favour of the doctors of the gastroenterology department of the GB Pant Hospital, absolving them of charges of medical negligence.
The case goes back to year year 2000, when a patient underwent liver biopsy in G B Pant Hospital, after being diagnosed as having HBs AG+ve. The complainant went for the said test on the advice of Dr Prof. S K Sarin, the then HOD of the Gastroenterology of G B Pant Hospital Delhi. Biopsy test was done by Dr Sri Ram Resident Surgeon, Department of Gastroenterology G B Pant Hospital Delhi. Dr. Sri Ram applied local anesthesia on the chest of the patient and injected a needle for taking out the sample for biopsy.
Grievance of the complainant was that he immediately started spitting blood and continued doing so. His body started trembling and jumping 2-3 feet high. It was revealed that the lung of the complainant had been punctured and he was immediately shifted to the ICU. Complainant submitted that his life could be saved only with the intervention of Dr. S K Sarin and while he was stabilised, both his kidneys failed and he was put on dialysis. The complainant added that he had to be shifted to Sir Ganga Ram Hospital where he remained for the next 12 days.
Claiming negligence on the part of doctors of GB Pant Hospital, the complainant demanded a compensation of Rs 18,27,910 inclusive of the cost of medicines and treatment incurred, and loss of earning.
The counsel for the complainant stated:-
- The patient should have not been put to the test of liver biopsy by the bed side. He should have been taken to an operation theater keeping in view his health condition.
- The doctor conducting biopsy should have used ultrasonography or computed tomography (CT)-guided biopsy needle insertion.
Responding to the allegations, Dr Sarin submitted that there was no negligence either on his part or the attending doctors.
- Complainant was examined by him for his multiple liver related problems which included presence of hepatitis B infection, presence of low serum albumin and the underlying diabetes mellitus. Liver biopsy was required to decrease extent damage caused to the liver.
- Patient and his attendants were explained the risk involved in liver biopsy. A proper informed written consent was taken
- .After a joint decision by a team of doctors, it was unanimously decided to proceed with the liver biopsy.
- There was no contraindication existing in the case. Dr Sri Ram was a qualified gastroenterologist who had regularly been carrying out liver biopsy for the last four years prior to the biopsy in question.
- Biopsy was conducted in the room in which the patient was admitted. In most such cases procedure is carried out on bed side.
Dr Sri Ram submitted that puncture of other viscera(Right lung-lower most edge of right lung which was anatomically situated just beneath, behind and near to the liver of the complainant) was a known complication of liver biopsy.
The matter was referred the matter for expert opinion, which corroborated the defense put forward by the doctors in the case. The doctors also submitted relevant literature in support of their defense.
After going through the submissions, the bench comprising Shri NP Kaushik dismissed the complaint in favour of doctors stating
the puncture of lung is a known complication of liver biopsy. It is not the case that the doctor performing tests lacked in educational qualifications, experience or failed to do the job with a reasonable skill. Clearly, it was not a case of negligence or carelessness on the part of doctor doing the procedure. Complaint, therefore, is dismissed.
Read the full judgement below