Infected Non-United Left Tibia in Minor Patient after several operations: Consumer Court directs Orthopaedician to pay Rs 9 lakh compensation
Hooghly: Opining that the treating doctor failed to provide appropriate treatment which ultimately caused the minor patient to suffer pain and injury for a prolonged period of time, the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Hooghly has directed the Chandannagar-based doctor to pay Rs 9 lakh as compensation.
The treating doctor operated on the 11-years-old minor girl for several times after the girl had fractured both bones of her left leg. The minor girl was later diagnosed by the infected non-united left tibia, with no healing for seven months by the Christian Medical College, Vellore, from where she recovered.
The District Commission in the judgment dated 28.04.2021, opined that the treating doctor could not perform the said operations successfully rather his act or omission caused tremendous suffering of the patient. Chiefly the opposite party doctor failed to provide post-operative care/guidance for which the patient, the daughter of the complainant suffered a lot, it said.
"So we may safely conclude that the opposite party committed medical negligence for which the daughter of the complainant suffered immense pain and suffering for a prolonged period," read the order of the Commission.
The case concerned an 11-years-old girl who met with an accident back on November 30, 2013, and it resulted in a fractured left tibia and the patient became unable to walk. Primarily seeking treatment at the Sadar Hospital, Chinsurah, the complainant, the father of the patient took the girl to an orthopaedic specialist for further treatment on 16.12.2013.
After examining the patient, the treating doctor advised to admit the patient at a nearby municipal hospital and prescribed for plating. The discharge summary post-operation mentioned the plating size 6x4.5 mm. Later the doctor decided for another operation and replanted the plate 9x4.5 mm instead of 6x4.5mm as per his own will, alleged the complainant.
However, a few days after the second operation, the operated place started discharging pus and accordingly the doctor advised for weekly dressing of the patient. Submitting that the pus started to discharge as the prior suture was not done properly, the complainant informed the commission that a few weeks later, the treating doctor did secondary suture/ stitch. However, the complication of the patient reached the apex and blood started coming out from the operated place.
The doctor then removed the old plates and found out that the infection was spread over the injury because of absolute lack of care and attention, alleged the complainant. Therefore, the orthopaedic specialist referred the patient to a second doctor.
The complainant stated that due to negligent act and despite of several experimental operation by the doctor, the growth of the both bone of the patient became slow for healing and after lapse of few days further started to discharge Seropurluous with a small breach in the skin and for which repeated dressings did not help in healing in where the standard of care was more required by the doctor.
The complainant, afterward, took his daughter to Christian Medical College, Vellore, where the patient was finally treated after prolonged tests and diagnosis. The discharge summary of Vellore hospital mentioned that the patient was preferred for diagnosis of INFECTED NON UNION LEFT TIBIA and she was brought by parents complaints of inability to weight bear and no healing unclear over the left leg for last 7months.
Submitting that the patient is still under treatment at Vellore hospital, the complainant submitted before the Commission that due to breach of the applicable standard of medical care by the treating doctor, his daughter faced -(i) suffered conscious pain and suffering both in the part and it is expected by her physicians the future (ii) incurred medical expenses in the past and will incur future medical expenses (iii) suffered mental and emotional sorrow and anguish (iv) suffered permanent physical injuries and disfigurement and (v) was required to undergo an additional medical procedure and has sustained other damages.
It was further submitted by the Complainant that all the injuries and damages sustained by the complainant's daughter were direct and proximate result of the negligent actions and breaches of the applicable standards of medical care by the treating doctor.
Thus, the Complainant prayed for compensation of Rs 10,00,000 as compensation for the medical expenses, and Rs 10,000 for mental agony and harassment as suffered by the patient.
Contesting the petition, the doctor submitted that he duly explained all the possible complications that may arise from the operation and the operations were conducted upon the patient only after taking due consent from the guardians. He further submitted that the patient was treated with due care and caution, maintaining all sorts of established medical norms and practice.
He submitted that the X-ray after the first operation revealed that the position of the plate had shifted and so the second operation was necessary for re-fixing the deformity. As the skin healing was incomplete the patient required a secondary suture. When the expected improvement could not be achieved in spite of his honest effort the doctor reckoned that the patient would need a multi-disciplinary approach and probably plastic and reconstructive surgery. That is why, he referred to patient to a second doctor belonging to Kolkata.
Adding that he didn't have any idea in the patient being taken to CMC Vellore, the treating doctor submitted that he was surprised to find out that the discharge summary of CMC Vellore mentioned that the patient was made to walk without support, as he never advised for any such things.
The Commission noted that the CMC Vellore never confirmed any negligence on the part of the treating doctor. The treating doctor thus alleged that to establish the allegation by the complainant he has simply filed his evidence in chief but he has failed to requisition for any expert medical opinion in spite of making a suggestion on the part of the opposite party.
However, the Commission also noted the referral letter to the second doctor as it briefly mentioned the case details of the patient. Apart from this, the Commission also considered the discharge summary of CMC Vellore and the letter by the advocate of the treating doctor.
After perusing the documents and listening to the contentions by both the parties, the Commission noted
"It is the common phenomena to look after the orthopedic patient in post operative period cautiously as there is every possibility to arise many complications at that stage. Non-union of Tibia after operating twice is a rare case."
"From the above discussion this commission is in the view that the opposite party doctor could not perform the said operations successfully rather his act or omission caused tremendous suffering of the patient. Chiefly the opposite party doctor failed to provide post-operative care/guidance for which the daughter of the complainant suffered a lot," further noted the Commission.
Opining that the doctor should be held for medical negligence, the Commission further noted that the treating doctor failed to provide appropriate treatment to the impugned patient i.e. the daughter of the complainant as a result the complainant suffered pain, injury for a prolonged period at the cause of opposite party. The complainant visited several times to the treating doctor for curing the illness of his daughter but due to negligence on the part of the doctor the complainant suffered a lot and lastly she saved her life by the treatment of CMC Vellore for which he is entitled to get compensation along with money expensed for the treatment of her daughter and litigation cost.
Thus, the Commission directed the doctor to pay a sum of Rs.1,50,000/- as expensed for the treatment of the daughter of the complainant for medical negligence in favor of the complainant within 45 days from the date of order. The doctor was further asked to pay compensation amounting to Rs.7,50,000/- to the complainant for harassment, humiliation, tolerance of pain within the time framed. Apart from these, the doctor was asked to be another Rs 10,000 as cost of litigation.
To view the original order, click on the link below.