Doc to pay Rs23 lakh for botched up surgery

  • Kanchan Chaudhari, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Aug 24, 2015 00:44 IST

Fourteen years after a botched up surgery killed her mother, a Parel resident will get Rs22.85 lakh as compensation from the surgeon.

In November 2001, Dr Hemant Kulkarni operated upon Dhanashri Savardekar’s mother to remove gall bladder and bile duct stones by endoscopic retrograde cholangio pancreatography. As her condition deteriorated, she was shifted to KEM hospital, where she died. In her complaint filed in October 2002, Savardekar blamed Kulkarni for her mother’s death, alleging he was not equipped to handle the complicated case.

Kulkarni contested the complaint, claiming he was an experienced general surgeon from GS Medical College and had served as the head of the surgery unit at KEM Hospital. He contended the patient was referred to some other hospital, but was sent back to him, after which he decided to conduct the surgery in the best interests of the patient.

The bench of KB Gawali and Narendra Kawde, however, noted the surgeon had not offered any explanation on why he carried out an open surgery for removal of stones, even though he was unable to trace the location of the stone in the bile duct. The bench held that going ahead with a surgery, despite being aware of its risks, and then ending it unsuccessfully amounted to deficiency in service. It held that as the patient showed pre-operative symptoms of tachycardia with imminent danger of going into septicaemia, the doctor should have referred the patient to some other hospital with requisite facilities.

Holding the doctor liable for failing to exercise due diligence, the state consumer commission directed Kulkarni to pay Savardekar within 60 days Rs10 lakh, along with interest at the rate of 12% an annum from October 2002. The surgeon has also been ordered to pay litigation cost of Rs25,000 to the complainant.

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