Delayed diagnosis of Ectopic Pregnancy: Court exonerates doctor, Hospital from medical negligence
Lucknow: Observing that it is the duty of the complainant to submit all the relevant papers, the State Consumer disputes Redressal Commission of Uttar Pradesh has recently dismissed medical negligence charges against a doctor and hospital for ectopic pregnancy of the patient. The bench noted that there were no documents to indicate the duration of the pregnancy. "It is the duty...
Lucknow: Observing that it is the duty of the complainant to submit all the relevant papers, the State Consumer disputes Redressal Commission of Uttar Pradesh has recently dismissed medical negligence charges against a doctor and hospital for ectopic pregnancy of the patient. The bench noted that there were no documents to indicate the duration of the pregnancy.
"It is the duty of complainant to submit all the relevant papers and the papers should be clear so one can read it. On the back of the prescription of a full party there is something written as to repeat for confirmation. It is not clear that for which test it has been written. There is nothing on record as to how old the pregnancy was?" observed the Commission as it dismissed the complaint concerning ectopic pregnancy of a patient who claimed that due to delayed diagnosis both her fallopian tubes had to be removed.
The case goes back to 2015 when the patient had visited the hospital where she had consulted the treating doctor, to whom she had spoken about her medical history including previous Ectopic Pregnancy.
When the doctor conducted a pregnancy test, the results came in positive and the doctor then advised for an ultrasound. The reports clarified that there was no problem with the pregnancy as the embryo was in the correct position.
One month later the complainant was having severe pain and visited the hospital where the treating doctor advised her for getting a second opinion.
The second doctor after conducting an ultrasound informed the complainant that the foetus was not in the uterus and was being developed in the fallopian tube instead. Following the second doctor's advice, the patient visited another doctor in Lucknow, who after conducting tests informed her that the baby is in the fallopian tube and much time has passed. Consequently, the Lucknow-based doctor operated on the patient and removed the embryo.
It had been alleged by the complainant that the Lucknow-based doctor had informed her that the wrong diagnosis was responsible for such condition of the patient and if at the right time the embryo's position could have been traced, the doctors could have transplanted it in the uterus with the help of medicines. However, due to delayed diagnosis, the doctors didn't have any other option but to remove the embryo along with the fallopian tube. Her first fallopian tube was already removed due to her medical history of ectopic pregnancy, she stated in the petition.
Thus alleging severe negligence committed by the doctor and hospital the complainant patient further submitted that due to this she lost all hopes of conceiving in future. She demanded Rs 40 lakhs for pain and mental agony, loss of child and motherhood, Rs 8 lakhs for total treatment including the transportation fees and other expenses, and Rs 50,000 as the cost of the suit.
After listening to the contentions of both the sides, the Consumer Court took note of the medical literature related to the ectopic pregnancy. In case of Ectopic Pregnancy the embryo gets developed inside the fallopian tube and if it doesn't get removed in time, there are chances of bursting the fallopian tube and causing serious harm to the mother.
Often, the first warning signs of an ectopic pregnancy are light vaginal bleeding and pelvic pain. If blood leaks from the fallopian tube, one may feel shoulder pain or an urge to have a bowel movement.
Noting that the ectopic pregnancy is fatal for the foetus, the court also noted that quick treatment for ectopic pregnancy is necessary for protecting the mother's life and also opined ectopic pregnancy to be a medical emergency. The State Consumer court also noted that one might be at the higher risk of developing ectopic pregnancy if they had a previous ectopic pregnancy, a history of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), Surgery on one's fallopian tubes, history of infertility, IVF treatment history, Endometriosis, Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), an intrauterine device (IUD), age of women, or a history of smoking.
"It it has become very much clear that the ectopic pregnancy can be very well diagnose in the early 4 to 5 weeks of pregnancy. If there is history of previous ectopic pregnancy and one of the fallopian tubes has already been removed from the body, the risk is very high for future ectopic pregnancy. A good and qualified gynaecologist can very well anticipate the risk of ectopic pregnancy particularly in the case where there had been the history of previous ectopic pregnancy," noted the court.
Looking at the details of the case, the State Consumer Court noted that after getting the positive results for the pregnancy, the complainant was taken to the hospital more than a month later. Further, the Commission noted that as during the first visit the complainant didn't disclose the last date of menstruation it was not possible for the doctor to know what was the duration of the pregnancy at that time.
"There is no prescription of next-day so we are unable to ascertain what the opposite parties recommended? The prescriptions of the first ectopic pendency has also not been filed by the complainant. It is not clear as to in which hospital the first ectopic pregnancy was shown and operated," noted the Commission.
"It is the duty of complainant to submit all the relevant papers and the papers should be clear so one can read it. On the back of the prescription of a full party there is something written as to repeat for confirmation. It is not clear that for which test it has been written. There is nothing on record as to how old the pregnancy was?," further noted the Commission as it opined that there was no negligence on the part of the treating doctor and hospital.
Observing that the complainant couldn't negligence against the treating doctor the Commission opined that the complaint was liable to be dismissed.
To read the Consumer court order, click on the link below.
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.