NCDRC holds nursing home, doctors guilty for leaving sponge inside patient abdomen, slaps Rs 5 lakh compensation
New Delhi: The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) recently directed a Delhi-based nursing home and its two doctors to pay Rs 5 lakh compensation for leaving a sponge inside the abdomen of the patient while conducting Caesarian delivery (LSCS).Such a decision was taken by the top consumer court as took note of the Delhi Medical Council order and also the findings of the...
New Delhi: The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) recently directed a Delhi-based nursing home and its two doctors to pay Rs 5 lakh compensation for leaving a sponge inside the abdomen of the patient while conducting Caesarian delivery (LSCS).
Such a decision was taken by the top consumer court as took note of the Delhi Medical Council order and also the findings of the St. Stephen's Hospital, whose doctors had removed the sponge afterwards.
Holding the treating facility and its doctors guilty of medical negligence, the NCDRC bench ordered, "Based on the discussion above, the Order of State Commission is hereby set aside. The award made by the District Forum is modified. Accordingly, the Opposite Parties are directed to pay Rs. 5 lakh to the Complainant within 6 weeks from the receipt of Copy of this Order, failing which the Opposite Party shall be liable to pay 7% interest till its realization."
The history of the case goes back in 2012, when Dr. A.K.Jain and Dr. Usha Jain had conducted Caesarian delivery (LSCS) of the complainant at Risabh Medical Centre, Delhi. Although the patient had been discharged after a few days of the operation, her condition was not good. Even after removing her stitches, she did not feel well. When she approached the doctor in this regard, the doctors informed her that it was due to a problem of indigestion.
However, her condition worsened and after developing unbearable abdominal pain, and swelling of the abdomen like a balloon, she had been admitted to St. Stephen Hospital at Delhi. While conducting an operation on the complainant, the doctors found an infected sponge and 1.5 liters of pus in the pouch of Douglas (POD). After being discharged from the Hospital, the complainant approached the District Forum Delhi and alleged medical negligence and carelessness on the part of the doctors of Rishabh Medical Centre.
On the other hand, the doctors and the treating facility denied any negligence on their part and also denied leaving any sponge in the abdomen during the surgery. They also submitted that the complainant had not discussed about her previous Caesarian operation at Rajasthan. Denying any fault on their part, the Medical Centre and its doctors submitted that during the present Caesarian operation, the operating doctor did not touch the back of the uterus, i.e. portion from where alleged sponge was removed.
"We are surprised how the Opposite Party No. 2, an experienced Gynaecologist, while examining the patient, failed to see the operative scar of the previous LSCS of the instant patient. Secondly, it is more relevant to rely upon the Medical Record of St. Stephen's Hospital. We note at the time of admission, the abdomen was distended, firm mass felt. The Ultrasound done on 24.09.2012 revealed uterus (12.5x9.1x5.1 cm) and a HETEROGENEOUS COLLECTION (MASS) (10X10X10 cm), it was suspected as pus collection. The patient was properly investigated and operated. After the operation, the pus culture sensitivity was done and treated the patient with appropriate antibiotics."
"In the instant case, on noticing a foreign body, the sponge was removed at St. Stephen's Hospital. Thus, the operative details (supra) and findings of DMC prove that medical negligence is attributed on the treating doctor (surgeon). Adverting to the quantum of compensation, it is highly subjective in nature in the medical negligence cases. In the instant case, the Complainant has not filed the details of expenses, however, the District Forum awarded Rs. 10 lakh, which, in our view, is on higher side. The Hon'ble Supreme Court categorically cautioned the tribunals, in the case of National Insurance Co. Ltd. vs. Kusuma  , observing that the amount of compensation awarded was not expected to be a windfall or bonanza, nor should it be niggardly or a pittance. "Whether there exists a reasonable expectation of pecuniary benefit" was always a mixed question of fact and law, but a mere speculative possibility of benefit was not sufficient. Therefore, in the ends of justice, the compensation is reduced to Rs. 5 (five) lakh, as just and adequate in the instant case."
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.