Alleged Use of Sulfa Drugs leading to complications: NCDRC holds no negligence, exonerates Chennai Doctor
New Delhi: The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) recently exonerated a Chennai based doctor from charges of medical negligence while treating a patient with Pyrexia of Unknown Origin (PUO).Although the patient had alleged that she suffered skin and eye complications due to the administration of Sulfa drugs by the doctor, the Commission noted that such claims were...
New Delhi: The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) recently exonerated a Chennai based doctor from charges of medical negligence while treating a patient with Pyrexia of Unknown Origin (PUO).
Although the patient had alleged that she suffered skin and eye complications due to the administration of Sulfa drugs by the doctor, the Commission noted that such claims were not supported by any evidence or expert opinion.
Therefore, the top consumer court bench comprising of Justice R.K. Agrawal (President) and Dr. S.M. Kantikar (Member) dismissed the complaint and affirmed the order of the State Commission, which also had exonerated the doctor earlier.
20 years ago, the patient approached Dr. R. S. Murlidharan at K. S. Hospital, Chennai for treatment of Pyrexia of unknown Origin (PUO). It was alleged that due to administration of Sulfa drugs, the patient suffered severe allergic reaction and developed oral ulcers, swelling of lips with skin and eye complication.
Following this, the patient allegedly had to undergo treatment at Apollo Hospital. As she had developed eye complications, she had to consult Sankara Netralaya and few eye specialists at Chennai.
Therefore, being aggrieved with the alleged negligent treatment of Dr. Murlidharan, the patient moved to State Commission, Chennai.
On the other hand, the treating doctor in his written version submitted that before taking treatment from his, the patient had been treated by her family doctor for her complaints of fever, dryness and ulcers in mouth. Suspecting it to be a case of PUO with Herpes viral disease. Dr. Murlidharan kept her under observation at K.S. Hospital. She was treated with antibiotics and other medicines, but not administered any Sulfa drugs, further submitted the doctor.
Denying knowledge of any further treatment of the patient, the doctor further mentioned that after almost one year he received a legal notice from the patient stating that she suffered Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis (TEN) due to negligent treatment. The doctor urged that he could by no way be held responsible for the same.
After considering the submissions by both the parties, the State Commission dismissed the complaint and consequently challenging the order the patient approached the NCDRC bench. The top consumer court took note of all the submissions and also perused the entire medical record regarding the treatment of the patient.
At this outset, the bench observed, "In spite of advice for review, she got admitted at Apollo Hospital 23.09.2002. There is nothing on record as to which medicine the patient took from 21.09.2002 to 23.09.2002. Further, there is no evidence that any sulfa containing drug was administered at K.S. Hospital. Also, there is no expert evidence or proof to show that only because of the treatment of the Opposite Party, she suffered all the complications."
It was further noted by the NCDRC bench that the patient took treatment from Apollo Hospital for more than 3 weeks for the Toxic epidermal necrolysis, Secondary hypomagnesemia, Sequelae: dry eye syndrome with Herpetic Kerotoconjunctives with mucosal scarring. Thereafter, she also approached Sankara Nethralaya for her eye complications and it was diagnosed as "Steven Johnson's Syndrome".
"The treating doctors at either Apollo Hospital or Sankara Nethralaya Eye Hospital have not mentioned about the drug allergy to Ofloxacin and Amoxycillin. Therefore, considering the entirety of the case, medical negligence cannot be attributable to the treatment given by the Opposite Party," noted the Apex Consumer Court.
NCDRC relied upon the Supreme Court judgment in the case of Achutrao Harbhau Khodwa Vs. State of Maharashtra, where it was held that the skill of medical practitioner differs from doctor to doctor and if a doctor treats the patient in an acceptable manner with due care, then medical negligence cannot be attributed to him/her even if the patient does not survive.
Reliance was also placed on Apex Court judgment in the case of C.P. Sreekumar (Dr.) vs. S. Ramanujam, where it was held that the Commission should not presume that the allegations made in the complaint are inviolable truth even though they remain unsupported by any evidence.
Barsha completed her MA from the University of Burdwan, West Bengal in 2018. Having a knack for Journalism she joined Medical Dialogues back in 2020. She mainly covers news about medico legal cases, NMC/DCI updates, medical education issues including the latest updates about medical and dental colleges in India. She can be contacted at email@example.com.