New Delhi: Doctors MUST take consent of patient/family members before undertaking an invasive procedure during treatment, a bench of Justice Ajit Bharihoke and Anup K Thakur of the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum were seen reiterating while pronouncing the judgement in a case of medical negligence.
The consumer court was responding to a case filed against Sitaram Bhartia Institute of Science and Research, New Delhi, where the patient had alleged that the doctors had not taken consent of family members before inserting a catheter for central venous line procedure adding that due to their alleged negligence, the jugular artery was ruptured resulting in profuse bleeding and he had to be shifted shift to another hospital for treatment.
The hospital responded that the procedure of insertion of CVL in the patient’s neck was a routine procedure like giving injection and consent was not required as it was not a surgical or invasive procedure.
The court however, not finding any merit in the hospital’s justification stated that putting CVL in the body of a patient could not be equated with ordinary procedure
A central venous catheter (CVC) also known as central venous line or central venous access catheter, is a procedure in which catheter is placed into a large vein. A catheter can be placed in veins in the neck, chest, groin or through veins in the arm. It is used to administer medication or fluids that are unable to be taken by the mouth. From the record it transpires that in the instant case, the CVC was tried to be placed by the team of doctors in the internal jugular vein, which went wrong resulting in injury to the vein and excessive bleeding. The aforesaid procedure obviously is an invasive procedure which admittedly carries the risk
Unless the procedure is necessary in order to save the life or preserve the health of the patient and it would be unreasonable to delay the procedure until the patient regains consciousness and takes a decision, a doctor cannot perform such procedure without consent of the patient. In the instant case, the insertion of catheter by Central Venous Line procedure being an invasive procedure carrying certain risk of complication, including injury to the jugular vein or bursting of the blood cells, the team of doctors was legally required to obtain consent of the patient.
“We haven’t received the copy of the order yet. After seeing the order, if order is adverse we will approach the Supreme Court,” said Dr Shubhra Verma, General Manager (Operations), Sitaram Bhartia hospital told TOI.