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If Patient doesn’t respond to Treatment, Doctor can’t be held for Negligence

“Merely a patient does not respond to the Treatment, a Doctor cannot be held Negligent…”

A Good beginning of the year for Medicos..

Case Details :

Sukhdev Gill V/s. Rotary Eye Hospital & ors, H.P.

Date of Judgement : 05/01/2018

BEFORE: Hon. Dr. S.M. Kantikar and Dr. B.C. Gupta.

DocMatrimony

Facts in short :

1. The Complainant, a Practicing Advocate himself, went to the Opponent Hospital and after investigation his left eye was found with a cataract as well as a squint. He was advised to undergo first squint removal surgery and then Cataract surgery.

2. It was alleged that after the surgery, there was no Doctor to look after the patient. Even the injection was given by the Chowkidar. After the removal of stitches it was found that the squint was not removed and the complainant lost his left eye vision and when the Complainant approached other Hospitals, it was found that the retina was completely detached to be cured. Thus it was clear cut negligence.

3. Thus he field the case in District Forum alleging that due to loss of vision, his professional career got ruined and his monthly income came down to Rs.3000/- from Rs.15,000/-,. However he was awarded with Rs. 1 lakh compensation. Against which, the Doctors approached for reversal of the order and the Complainant approached for enhancement of the compensation. But the Doctors appeal was allowed and Complainant’s appeal was dismissed and hence he approached the National Fora.

Defense :

1. The Hospital and Doctors resisted the case of the complainant. The Doctors submitted that the right vision of the Complainant was 6/60 and correction with glass was 6/12. Whereas his left eye vision was ZERO and as per WHO guidelines he was Blind.

2. There was only perception of light and the projection of rays was inaccurate. Moreover Fundus examination revealed that there was old Retinal Detachment (R.D.) in his left eye. Accordingly the patient was advised that the vision cannot be restored, but squint may be cured that too only for cosmetic purpose. Moreover the patient was not charged for diagnosis and only material cots was recovered.

HELD :

1. The National Commission after perusing the medical record and medical literature dismissed the revision petition of the Complainant.

2. It observed that none of the other hospitals/ Doctors in its prescriptions ever mentioned that RD was due to negligent or careless operation of squint correction. The Operative notes also revealed that there was old RD.

3. The squint removal was only for cosmetic purpose and the Complainant failed to prove that there was any negligence nor he produced any expert evidence.

4. It was lastly observed that Hon’ble Supreme Court in a catena of judgments have made elaborate observations on the medical negligence that for the complainant to succeed in the claim of alleged medical negligence, he has to prove the essential ingredients of medical negligence like Duty, Dereliction of duty of care (breach) and resultant Damage (injury). In the instant case, the complainant failed to prove those elements.

5. At the end the Commission observed that it should be borne in mind that merely because the patient did not respond favourably to the treatment, cannot be a ground to fasten the liability upon the medical professional and dismissed the Complainant.

Important judgment for day to day practice. This judgment has hidden message for Doctors that proper record keeping could save Doctors from damages. Always remember,

“NO RECORD MEANS NO DEFENSE & POOR RECORD MEANS POOR DEFENSE.”

Thanks and Regards

Adv. Rohit Erande

Pune. ©

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Founder of the desimedicos.com. Doctor by profession & a techie by hobby. MBBS from TNMC, Mumbai & MD Pharmacology from GSMC, Mumbai. Follow me https://twitter.com/drpcoli

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