ORDER DATED: 4.05.2017 (West Bengal State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission)

FACTS:

The brief facts of the case are that Susanta’s father , a senior citizen, was suffering from prostate ailment and was taken to Dr. Bimal who diagnosed Transurethral Resection of the Prostate (TURP). The doctor admitted the patient at his hospital and fixed the date and time for the surgery. Unfortunately, the surgery had to be delayed by about six hours due to a fault in Rescetoscope and non-availability of an anesthetist. The surgery took place six hours later, but in the wee hours of the same day, the patient suffered a cardiac arrest and was transferred to the ICCU, but unfortunately died. Susant was in a shock as he was hoping to see his father hale and hearty, he got the sad news of his demise instead. It was this shock and perhaps knowledge of delay in surgery that made him approach the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, West Bengal.

CONTENTIONS OF THE COMPLAINANT:

  • He alleged that Dr. Bimal performed TURP without consulting a cardiologist, which was imperative especially for an elderly patient
  • He also alleged that the pre-planned surgery was delayed due to faulty Rescetoscope and non-availability of an anesthetist and that was a serious lapse on the doctor’s part as it was his duty to ensure everything was in place for the pre-planned surgery
  • Susanta concluding allegation was that the doctor was responsible for the wastage of blood that was asked to be collected but never used

DEFENSE OF THE DOCTOR:

  • Dr. Biswas submitted that TURP was performed after conducting necessary radiological and pathological tests
  • He further submitted that the patient was checked by a cardiologist and an ECG was also done. TURP was performed only after the patient was found to be fit for operation, although the patient had one heart attack in the past. Post-surgery, the patient was stable and CVS was NAD but in the wee hours he suffered a cardiac arrest
  • The doctor further stated that the patient did not require blood transfusion and hence the same was not required
  • Lastly, the doctor stated, TURP was delayed due to faulty Resectoscope and for preoccupancy of the anesthetist and he can’t be held negligent for such delay

COURT HELD:

It was observed that medical records did not have details of patient being checked by a cardiologist, which was required as standard of practice. Further it was observed that two units of blood was advised for surgery, but the doctor neither utilized the blood nor did he take care of the mode of disposal of blood.

Making similar other observations, the Commission stated the following: “Doctor did not perform his duties he owed to the patient properly and diligently, as he did not perform TURP at the fixed time and he ought to have ensured that the Resectoscope was functional. The doctor has taken recourse to the excuse of previous heart attack seemingly to be free from liability for patient’s death and to hide the deficiency on his part in ensuring proper and diligent medical care”. The doctor was held guilty for negligence by the Commission.