Misplacement of screw during Spinal Surgery: NCDRC dismisses case against AIIMS
Delhi: The National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission (NCDRC) has dismissed a case of medical negligence against All India Institute Of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi and its doctors wherein the petitioner alleged that the patient became paralyzed due to misplacement of the screw during surgery for congenital spinal deformity.
As per the discharge summary, one screw penetrated the vertebral canal and caused Grade – III perforation in the spinal cord. The spinal cord was severely damaged and the patient became paralyzed for the rest of her life, with loss of bowel and urinary control.
It was also alleged that the C-arm was not used during the operation and the first surgery was conducted by an orthopedic surgeon and not a neurologist.
" Thus we do not accept the Complainant's allegation that the spinal corrective surgeries were conducted without the help of the C-arm at AIIMS", added the commission.
the second procedure was carried out without loss of much time in presence of Neurosurgeon. Operatively no Dural injury was found. Therefore it was decided with the consultation of neurologist to place gelfoam surgical over the laceration in the Dura and the wound was closed. Methyl prednisolone was given as an established treatment protocol in acute spine cord injury and decongestants were given to prevent CSF leak. This cannot be construed as a short comings or medical negligence.
"The doctor owes certain duty towards the patient and the doctor can decide the method of treatment, which is more suitable for the patient. In the instant case, we find the treating doctors at AIIMS failed in the duty of care towards the patient."
the medical negligence is not conclusively established against Opposite Party No. 2 (Kyphosis & Scoliosys Unit HoD) and his team, who have performed the spinal deformity surgery with a reasonable duty of care.
Further, the court noting that the patient is pursuing MBBS at JIPMER, added, "We may add that we have sympathy with the patient for her Congenital Kyphoscoliosis deformity, however, sympathy cannot substitute for conclusive evidence of medical negligence. We are but happy to note that presently the patient (Complainant No. 1) is pursuing her MBBS at JIPMER, Pondicherry, and we wish her all success in life."
To take its Unit to the next level, as a systemic improvement, the Director, AIIMS may kindly consider enhanced integration of 'Orthopaedics' and 'Neurosurgery' in its said Unit, including by posting both 'Orthopaedics' and 'Neurosurgery' therein as well as working towards creating a speciality in its own right for 'Spinal Surgery', having knowledge in both 'Orthopaedics' and 'Neurosurgery'.