New Delhi: The amputation of a patients leg due to alleged medical negligence and improper diagnosis by doctors at at the one of the apex medical institutions of the country, PGIMER, Chandigarh has led the apex consumer commission asking it to pay Rs 10 lakh to his family.
The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) made the observation while upholding the state commissions order granting the relief to Chandigarh resident Jaswinder Kumar (now deceased), who was operated by the accused hospital Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGI) but did not get cured.
The case goes back to the year 2011, when a 35 year old male patient came to the PGIMER with complaints of swelling and pain in the right foot. The complainant went through Digital Subtraction Angiography (DSA) at the Department of Radio–diagnosis, report of which stated that he was suffering from “Intermediately High Flow AVM (Arteria Venous Malfunction) of Dorsum of Right Foot c Feeders from ATA Predominantly.’
Based on the report the patient was operated upon. After a month, the patient again visited the hospital with complaints of mild pain and swelling, when he was advised some ointment,complaints of mild pain and swelling, when he was advised some ointment. Similar visits were month over the next two months when he was adviced more medication for healing of the scar. As per the complainant, his problem of swelling, unbearable pain, inflammation and bleeding went on increasing, following which he consulted the HOD at the Plastic Surgery Department, when the doctors decided to perform second surgery PDOA after about 6 months and the date for the same was also fixed as 04.04.2012.
He then consulted another hospital on November 5, 2011, which discovered a highly malignant tumour, “Right Foot Synovial Sarcoma”, i.e., highly malignant tumour, which required urgent intervention and amputated his knee, as the tumour had already spread due to the delayed diagnosis on PGIs part.
It is alleged in the consumer complaint that the complainant became 100% disabled due to the medical negligence of the doctors at the PGIMER. The complainant filed the consumer complaint in question, seeking directions to the OPs to compensate him with a sum of 10 lakhs for mental harassment, physical agony and loss of future earnings. He also demanded another 10 lakhs as damages on account of permanent disability, shortening of life expectancy etc., 10 lakhs on account of medical expenses and another 10 lakhs on account of loss of enjoyment of life, besides 50,000/- as litigation expenses.
The counsel for PGI argued it had acted as per the standard protocol governing the medical condition of the patient and failure to diagnose does not constitute medical negligence on any account.
The court after hearing the arguments, upheld the decision of the state commission which found the doctors and hospital guilty of misdiagnosis
“An institution like the PGI is a prestigious institute, known for its reputation in the field of medical care, and it was expected from them that they could have been more vigilant in ensuring that proper diagnosis was made on the patient
It said it was expected from PGI doctors that they could have been careful with the patient, who had to get his right leg amputated as a tumour had spread above his knee due to delayed proper and required clinical diagnosis by them.
The court upheld the decision of the state commission which stated the hospital and doctors are jointly and severally liable to pay a sum of 10 lakh as compensation along with 30,000/- as cost of litigation.
With regards to ascertaining the liability of the doctors, the NCDRC also asked the PGI to carry out an internal probe in the case to fix the liability on individual doctors who were found negligent in the discharge of their duties.
The PGI shall carry out an internal probe in the matter to determine the extent of liability on the individual doctors, who were found negligent in the discharge of their duties. The extent of compensation payable by the individual doctors, if any, shall be determined by them from the outcome of that probe/inquiry. In case, it is concluded that no individual doctor was found responsible for the lapse, the entire amount of compensation in terms of this order shall be payable by the OP-1 PGI itself as a vicarious liability.
You can read the full judgement below