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Doctors, hospital ordered to pay compensation

IN A significant decision, State Consumer Forum has ordered payment of Rs one lakh compensation by Dr Maya Pathak, Ayushman Hospital and Dr Ravi Gupta of Sanjeevani Hospital to the kin of a patient, who died of bacterial infection following surgery.

india Updated: Jul 13, 2006 13:36 IST

IN A significant decision, State Consumer Forum has ordered payment of Rs one lakh compensation by Dr Maya Pathak, Ayushman Hospital and Dr Ravi Gupta of Sanjeevani Hospital to the kin of a patient, who died of bacterial infection following surgery.

According to the plaint of one Phool Chand Soni and his three sons, Soni’s wife had been examined by Dr Maya Pathak following complaints of swelling and respiratory trouble. The patient suffered from high blood pressure and had also been operated for hernia in the past.

Ultra sonography of the patient revealed a tumour in the uterus. The tumour was not malignant and the doctor suggested an operation would cure her.

The operation was carried out at Ayushman Hospital on May 20, 2005 and the possibility of cancer was ruled out following relevant tests and medical examination.

Dr Pathak opened a fourth of the stitches after 12 days of the operation and told the patient that the rest of the stitches would be taken off later.

Ravi Gupta, who was part of the doctors’ team which carried out surgery, visited the patient and asked the staff nurse not to take off the rest of the stitches. But, the nurse took off the stitches the next day, which led to pus formation in the area of surgery.

When Pathak was consulted, she said there was nothing serious and the wound would cure in two-three days. However, even as the condition of the  patient worsened further she was relieved from the hospital without the consent of her kin, on June 16.

She was taken to Sanjeevani hospital, where dressing of her wound continued and pus was examined at Delta Pathology. The report stated the presence of staphylococcus aureus co-agulant, indicating bacterial infection. Her treatment at the hospital continued but in vain and the patient died on July 22.

The tribunal held the patient died of bacterial infection for lack of post-operation care. It further held if doctors had been careful, she could have been saved by administering required medicines.

The court held Ayushman Hospital was also responsible for the death since the operation had taken place there and lack of nursing care seemed to be a major reason for the death.

The court ordered doctors and hospitals concerned to pay a compensation of Rs one lakh to the deceased either jointly or separately. If they fail to pay compensation within 30 days, they will also be liable to pay interest at the rate of nine per cent to kin of the deceased.