Consumer Court absolves 2 doctors of negligence in treating endometriosis patient
Jalandhar: Finding no medical negligence regarding the treatment provided by the doctors, the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has recently given relief to an Obstetrician & Gynecologist Fertility & IVF Specialist and a Senior Consultant in Gastroenterology Hepatology & Endoscopy, who had been allegedly charged for wrongly treating a patient suffering from endometriosis.
The judgment dated 09.03.2021 by the President of the Commission Kuljit Singh and member Jyotsna, has further mentioned, "Negligence cannot be attributed to a doctor so long as he performs his duties with reasonable skill and competence. It would not be conducive to the efficiency of the medical profession, if no doctor could administer medicine without a halter round his neck."
The case concerns a couple who were having problems conceiving a baby even after two years of their marriage. To be sure about their physical health the couple had decided on a physical check-up in August 2018. It had been alleged on the behalf of the complainant couple that although the wife had infertility disease, when she visited the hospital of the treating doctor, the doctor had intentionally not mentioned about the problem.
After examining the whole body of the patient, the treating doctor had informed the couple there had been a cyst in the ovary of the patient and the second doctor had assured the couple that after the operation she would be able to conceive.
In pursuance, the patient had been admitted to the hospital of the second doctor on 13.08.2018 and on the next day the treating doctor had operated on the patient for the cysts in the ovary. For this purpose, the complainants had paid Rs 38,000 for the surgery and Rs 1,25,000 for the medicines, as alleged by the complainants.
It had been also alleged on the behalf of the complainants that the patient had been taken into the operation theatre only for 20 minutes and that she had been discharged on 16.08.2018.
After this, Histopathology test of the patient had been conducted on 27.08.2018 and she continued treatment under the treating doctor for the pain suffered by her and the treating doctor had suffered medicines for that purpose as well.
Finding no relief from the treatment provided by the treating doctor, the couple had decided to double-check and the patient had undergone scanning for that purpose. The scan reported, conducted on 24.12.2018 had clearly mentioned that there had been multiple cysts in both the ovaries of the patient along with some other problems.
Shocked that the cysts had been existing even after the operation, the couple had decided to take a second opinion and had consulted another doctor for that purpose. After examining the medical records of the patient and the history of treatment, the doctor had informed that couple that the tablet "Sysron N 10 Mg" prescribed by the treating doctor had been an anti-conceive tablet and due to regular intake of this medicine, she had suffered so much physical ruination of her internal body parts and it gave birth to many other diseases.
Alleging that due to the negligent and erroneous medical treatment is given by the treating doctor the patient had suffered a lot physical pain, mental agony, and harassment, the complainants had approached the Consumer Court seeking compensation of Rs.1,65,000/- for medical expenses and Rs.18 lakh for the suffering on the part of the patient.
The doctors accused of medical negligence had denied all these allegations and had objected by saying that the complaint had been nothing but a misuse of the process of law.
The treating doctor had contended that the prescription slip of the patient had clearly mentioned that she had been suffering from severe pain in her abdomen on account of endometriosis. After examination, the doctors got to know of the cysts in the ovaries of the patient and even informed the need for an operation to remove the same.
It had been denied on the part of the doctors that the complainants had paid an amount of Rs 1,25,000 on the medicines. Denying the allegation that the patient had been inside the operation theatre only for 20 minutes, the doctors had claimed that it took almost 80 minutes for the whole procedure of operation.
Mentioning that the operation had been performed under standard medical norms, the doctors had further contended that after draining the chocolate cysts the samples of the cysts had been sent for biopsy. It had been also contended on the behalf of the doctors that Sysron N 10 mg had been prescribed for the pain suffered by the patient and it couldn't be an anti conception drug when given at the specified dose and duration as prescribed to the patient.
Citing reference from the Textbook of Clinical Gynaecological Endocrinology and Infertility by Leon Speroff, the doctors had further contended that "Recurrent disease and pain after conservative surgical treatment is the rule rather than the exception, symptoms recur in at least 10-20% of treated women per year."
Finally, claiming that the patient had been operated without any complications and post-operative care had been given to the patient as per the standard norms, the doctors had pleaded before the Commission for the dismissal of the complaints.
The complainants, to support their statement had submitted several documents including a copy of history & examination, copies of prescription slips, copies of bill receipts among others. On the other hand, the doctors had submitted an affidavit of the treating doctor, copies of prescription slip of the doctor, copies of treatment chart, copy of a consent form for treatment and surgical operation, copy of the form for high risk consent, etc.
Sh. Rajat Nanda, the counsel for the doctors had also placed on record various Supreme Court judgments in support of their case including Jacob Mathew vs. the State of Punjab, Martin F. D Souza Vs Mohd. Ishfaq.
After listening to all the arguments and taking note of all the documentary evidence, the Commission had noted that from a perusal of the entire medical literature produced on record by the treating doctors, it had been clear that the doctors had treated the patient as per the standard medical norms. In fact, the complainants couldn't produce any such medical record to prove otherwise. The Commission had further noted that the patient herself had given consent for admission, treatment and surgical operation. The High-Risk Consent form signed by the patient clearly proves that the patient had been a high-risk candidate and could suffer from complications.
Citing the Apex Court judgment in " Kusum Sharma and others versus Batra Hospital & Medical Research Centre and others," the Commission had mentioned:
"Negligence is the breach of a duty exercised by omission to do something, which a reasonable man, guided by those considerations, which ordinarily regulate the conduct of human affairs, would do, or doing something which a prudent and reasonable man would not do. A medical practitioner would be liable only, where his conduct fell below that of the standards of a reasonably competent practitioner in his field. Negligence cannot be attributed to a doctor so long as he performs his duties with reasonable skill and competence. It would not be conducive to the efficiency of the medical profession, if no doctor could administer medicine without a halter round his neck."
There is nothing on the record that OPs were not qualified doctors or they have not followed the medical protocol, while prescribing the treatment of tuberculosis to life assured In the absence of expert doctor's report, we are unable to rely upon the bald submissions of complainant in this regard, who is not an medical expert person in the medical science, attributing medical negligence to OPs.
Regarding the medicine Sysron N 10 Mg, the Commission had noted that from the perusal of plethora of medical literature on At this point, it had been clear that this medicine had not been wrongly given by the treating doctor to the patient.
As per Hucks v Cole, Lord Denning speaking for the court that A medical practitioner was not to be held liable simply because things went wrong from mischance or misadventure or through an error of judgment in choosing one reasonable course of treatment in preference of another. A medical practitioner would be liable only where his conduct fell below that of the standards of a reasonable competent practitioner in his field, the bench noted.
Mentioning that the Commission had been unable to rely upon the bald submissions of the complainant, who had not been a medical expert person in the medical science, the Commission dismissed the complaint in its recent judgment and has given relief to the Doctors.
To view the original court order, click on the link below.