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HomeLegal NewsNCDRC orders Rs.20 lakh compensation for performing high risk surgery without ICU

NCDRC orders Rs.20 lakh compensation for performing high risk surgery without ICU

New Delhi: The NCDRC upheld the Maharashtra State Commission order which directed the hospital, the urologist and the anaesthetist negligent and deficient in service while treating the patient for kidney dysfunction and dismissed their appeal against the order of Maharashtra State Commission. The Apex Consumer Court was of the opinion that the concerned urologist was aware of the high risk patient and should not have opted for the surgery in the hospital as there was no ICU in the hospital.

The facts of the case are that the patient had only one functional kidney and was suffering from urinary track infection when she was referred to the urologist. The urologist advised her to undergo minor operation of right side kidney called as stanting of the kidney. The complainant, the father of the deceased patient alleged that before conducting the operation the urologist informed the respondent and his wife that the said operation is not complicated one and the surgery is risk free and there will be no danger to the life of patient and that the patient will be discharged from the hospital after operation in a day or two. The surgery was performed and the patient was shifted to post-operative care room but it was alleged that no competent doctor came to monitor the physical condition of the patient. As the patient brother was a unani practitioner he checked the patient and found that the vitals of the patient was not normal and shifted the patient to another hospital in serious condition but the patient did not survive. The respondent doctors submitted that they have performed the pre-operative assessment of the patient as standard protocols, the patient had consented for the operation and the operation was also successful. They further said that they have provided the post-operative care to the patient and as soon as the patient became critical they shifted her to a tertiary hospital.

The Apex Consumer Court questioned the lack of fundamental amenity like the ICU while performing operation on high risk patient. The Apex Consumer Court said “In our opinion, if hospitals knowingly fail to provide some amenities that are fundamental for the patients, it would certainly amount to medical malpractice. In a hospital, conducting operation and that too, especially on high risk patient, the admitted lack of ICU is a fundamental amenity in medical care and lack of the same amounts to deficiency in service.” The court further said that the doctors have not placed on record any evidence to show that either they prescribed or ensured that all the necessary pre-operative tests were done on the high risk patient prior to surgery to see that the patient was fit for surgery. On the issue of consent the court pointed out that from the perusal of the consent letter it becomes evident that the patient was not informed about the high risk and possible complication in the surgery and the consent only gave permission to conduct the operation. As far as the issue of post-operative care no concrete evidence has been produced by the doctors to prove that they attended the patient for a long period of 4 ½ hours after her operation. Considering the above facts the Apex consumer court held the doctors negligent and upheld the Maharashtra State Commission order of compensation of Rs.20 Lakhs to the complainant.

Legal PrescriptionAdmit the patient if you have the necessary amenities that are fundamental to the treatment of the patient Hospitals should not admit high risk patient if they do not have ICUNecessary pre-operative tests are to be performed and recorded before procedureIn high risk patient the consent should have comprehensive list of possible risk associated with the procedureIn high risk patient regular consent which  permits to conduct the operation should not be usedThe post-operative care to the patient should be recorded and should not have overlapping entries