The State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has ordered two doctors to pay a total compensation of Rs. 28.5 lakh to a woman who had sustained an injury to her ureter during surgery in 2010.
The commission found there was negligence for not maintaining proper medical records, not obtaining informed consent and not maintaining detailed operation notes.
The commission also noted that the doctors had admitted before the Maharashtra Medical Council that the injury to the ureter was accidental. It found that the doctors were negligent in providing medical services, which led to further complications.
The doctors, Dr Seema Shanbhag and Dr Ujjwal Mahajan, have been asked to pay Rs.ten lakh each to her for the injury, which led to her life-long follow-up expenses.
The Dombivili resident had spent Rs. 3.16 lakh as medical expenses after the surgery. The commission also ordered them to reimburse the amount. It directed them to pay Rs. 5 lakh for mental agony and physical harassment.
“When the patient is within the four walls of the operation theatre to which the relatives don’t have access, it is the responsibility and legal liability of the doctors to explain what went wrong,” it said.
The doctors had contended that they had followed medical protocol. The commission said that the documents placed on record do not show any specific precautions to avoid the ureteral injury or check it.
It said that operation notes are very important to know the steps taken in operation, any difficulty or complication detected on the operation table, but that, in the present case it does not have an opportunity to know what happened during the operation.
The woman in her complaint before the commission had stated that she had been referred by her family physician to Dr Shanbag.
On her advice, she decided to undergo surgery for the surgical removal of the uterus at Shree Krishna Surgical and Maternity Hospital, Dombivili. In the surgery, she later learnt that Dr Mahajan had also played a role.
A few days after the surgery, she experienced abdominal pain and vomiting, to which the doctor gave her medication. Her problem continued, and she was further referred to a urologist.
After that, she had to undergo a major operation in April 2011, which she claimed was due to the negligence of the treating doctors.
The doctors had earlier denied any negligence and stated that injury to the ureter during the operation is a known complication. They had also claimed that the patient had a rare condition before the operation, and her post-operative problems were due to that.
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