Doctors told to pay ₹5 lakh for negligence in New Delhi

Close up of a plastic surgeon marking the human skin for surgery.

Close up of a plastic surgeon marking the human skin for surgery. | Photo Credit: BraunS

The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) has ordered two doctors to collectively pay ₹5 lakh as compensation to a woman, who faced post-operative complications after a sponge was left inside her abdomen. The doctors had performed a caesarian delivery on the woman at a local hospital in Delhi.

“No amount of money can turn back the time and reverse the harm already done, but receiving compensation for unnecessary surgery or surgical errors can at least help the patient to overcome some of the challenges that lie ahead,” the Commission said in its June 3 order.

The order came on a plea by Sweta Khandelwal who stated that on September 13, 2012, Dr. A.K. Jain and Dr. Usha Jain performed a caesarian delivery on her at Rishabh Medical Centre, Delhi.

Ms. Khandelwal was discharged on September 18, 2012. Even after her stitches were removed, she did not feel well. Ms. Khandelwal visited the doctors again and was told that she suffered from indigestion.

On September 23, 2012, she developed unbearable abdominal pain. On the next day, she was admitted to St. Stephen’s Hospital, Delhi, where she was operated upon. During the operation, the doctors found an infected sponge and 1.5 litre of pus in her abdomen.

After Ms. Khandelwal was discharged on October 11, 2012, she filed a complaint before the District Consumer Forum.

The doctors argued that Ms. Khandelwal had not told them about a caesarian operation she had undergone five years earlier.

They contended that it was possible that the sponge had remained there ever since.

The two doctors also claimed that during the caesarian operation performed by them, they did not touch the back of her uterus, i.e. the portion from where the sponge was removed.

The consumer forum had on April 30, 2014, awarded compensation of ₹10 lakh to Ms. Khandelwal. The order of the consumer forum was quashed on March 1, 2016, after it was challenged by the two doctors before the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission.

Following this, Ms. Khandelwal moved the National Consumer Commission against the March 2016 verdict.

Here, the NCDRC expressed surprise at how Dr. Usha Jain, an experienced gynaecologist, while examining Ms. Khandelwal, had failed to see the operative scar of the previous caesarian operation.

It relied on the medical record of St. Stephen’s Hospital that had attributed medical negligence to the two doctors.

The NCDRC observed that the ₹10 lakh relief awarded by the District Forum was “on the higher side” and reduced the total compensation to ₹5 lakh.

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Printable version | Jun 20, 2022 12:40:33 pm |