The NCDRC recently acquitted a Telangana based Hospital and doctor from charges of medical negligence while performing hysterectomy operation on a patient. It was held by the top consumer court that there was no negligence while conducting fibroid uterus trans abdominal hysterectomy after it perused the entire medical record and referred to the expert opinion by the Superintendent of Govt. Maternity Hospital, Hyderabad.
Holding that the doctor performed the duty and did not conduct any negligence, the NCDRC bench dismissed the complaint. It observed that “the revision petition being misconceived and devoid of merit, is dismissed”. The history of the case goes back to 2009 when the complainant, a homemaker of about 47 years of age, underwent hysterectomy operation at Chaitanya Hospital. Dr Janki had performed the concerned operation without informed consent of the patient. It was alleged that the consent was pre-printed and therefore it amounted to unfair trade practice. Further, the complainant submitted that she was suddenly taken to Gandhi Hospital without any explanation regarding the condition. Therefore, it was a case of res ipsa loquitur. It was also alleged that the expert opinion was also not as per the standard guidelines of Hon’ble Supreme Court. Being aggrieved, she filed a complaint before the District Forum. After considering the matter, the District Forum dismissed the complaint and consequently the complainant approached the state commission, which also dismissed the plea. While considering the complaint, the State Commission had perused the entire medical record including the opinion given by Dr. Prabhavathi. This independent medical officer had examined the entire record and had submitted her report stating that there was no medical negligence.
The records revealed that the patient had been operated for fibroid uterus trans abdominal hysterectomy at the treating hospital following which she had developed right side chest pain and shortness of breath. She was immediately shifted to Gandhi Hospital. The records from Gandhi Hospital revealed that all necessary investigations had been advised and it was being suspected that she had been suffering from pulmonary embolism or any other catastrophic event needed to be confirmed. In fact, in the Doctor’s notes as well urgent physician opinion requirement had been mentioned as there was confusion regarding the condition of the patient post hysterectomy. The State Commission had noted that there was no doubt that the doctors at Gandhi Hospital had suspected pulmonary embolism. The treatment for this consists of blood thinners or anticoagulants to prevent new clots from forming. However, the Commission had noted that there was no reference for stating that the surgery conducted by the treating doctor was negligent or the surgery had been wrongly performed. It had been further noted by the Commission that Surgery is one of the major causes of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). Clots happen when blood thickens and sticks together. Sometimes the clots can travel to the lungs and this is called P.E and it can be life threatening it if blocks blood flow. Clot can form after any procedure particularly on the abdomen, pelvis or hips or legs. Therefore, opining that there was no negligence by the doctor, the State Commission had noted, “Obviously the opposite party no.1 doctor shifted her to Gandhi Hospital and early treatment was initiated. DVT is not always the result of negligence. A doctor can do everything right and a patient may still develop DVT. The critical issue is whether negligence actually caused the harm. This has not been established.” Being aggrieved by the order of the State Commission, the complainant had approached the NCDRC bench.
The top consumer court perused the entire material on record and the records revealed that Dr. Janaki had performed the surgery at Chaitanya Hospital. After operation, the patient had complained of pain in right chest and shortness of breath, Immediately the doctor had attended the patient and confirmed it as clear symptoms of air embolism i.e. rare complication during post operative period. Therefore, the patient had been immediately shifted to Gandhi Hospital being accompanied by the doctor. Taking note of this, the NCDRC bench noted, “Therefore, in our view, it was correct decision and a proper duty of care, thus not negligence.
The top consumer court also referred to the expert opinion of Dr. Padmaja, the Superintendent of Govt. Maternity Hospital, Hyderabad. Dr. Padmaja had confirmed that there was no medical negligence in the case. Therefore, opining that the order of the State Commission did not need any interference, the top consumer court noted, “In the instant case, there are concurrent findings of fact and the revisional jurisdiction of this Commission is limited. Within the meaning and scope of section 21(b), we find no jurisdictional error, or a legal principle ignored, or miscarriage of justice, as may necessitate interference in the exercise of the revisional jurisdiction from this Commission.
At this outset, the NCDRC bench referred to the Supreme Court order in the case of Rubi (Chandra) Dutta Vs. M/s United India Insurance Co. Ltd. and the recent judgment in the case of Sunil Kumar Maity vs. State bank of India & Anr. Finally dismissing the complaint, the top consumer court noted, “the revision petition, being misconceived and devoid of merit, is dismissed.”