Doctor who injured woman’s ureter during C-Section asked to pay Rs 13 lakh

The State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has ordered a gynaecologist and a hospital to pay over Rs 13 lakh to a patient whose ureter had got cut during a Caesarean section operation in March 2011.

The complainant Anuja Shah’s advocate Anand Patwardhan told the commission that the doctor, Niranjan Pai, was negligent during the Caesarean operation as he had not identified the ureter using the “snapping technique” as per protocol, due to which it was inadvertently ligated on the lower part. Further, Shah was unable to nurse her baby as she was herself suffering numerous complications after the operation, he told the commission.

Dr Pai’s advocate GN Shenoy denied any medical negligence and deficiency in treating Shah and negated that such a protocol exists. Further, he argued that there are inherent risks in an operation and that the injury to the ureter was due to altered anatomy due to previous C-Section operation.

The state commission in its order by presiding judicial member PB Joshi and member SK Kakade said that the medical treatment record from the hospital was not filed on record and that the doctor and hospital have admitted that they are not available. It said that there was no evidence to show that all necessary care was taken before, during and after the operation.

It noted that there is no document on record to show that consent was taken prior to operation giving all the information about the expected complications. “..there is no operation notes record showing details of the operation procedure performed and the care taken during the operation to avoid complications like a present injury to ureter..,” it said and noted that there is nothing to show that the complication was recognised early and steps were taken by the doctor and hospital to treat it effectively.

The complainant Anuja Shah had registered with Pai Hospital in Dadar for antenatal care in Sep 2010 where she had been under treatment of Dr Niranjan Pai. Her delivery - a second, was expected on 1 May, but she had experienced abdominal pain and underwent a C-Section operation on 22 March performed by Dr Pai. A premature baby was delivered.

Her ordeal started soon after the delivery as she started experiencing acute abdominal pain. Soon she had to take follow-up with Dr Pai for fever and the doctor treated her for suspected Malaria. The doctor suggested she see a urologist as her complaints continued. The urologist she consulted informed her that a sonography showed that the lower part of her ureter had inadvertently got ligated on the right side during the Caesarean operation.

She had to undergo an operation in mid-April for the complications, which cost her Rs 87,000. Again, the following month, she underwent a ureteric implantation for which she was admitted in the hospital for a week. She incurred an expenditure of Rs. 2.52 lakh this time. After this operation, she developed an infection and had to be hospitalised for another two weeks and spent Rs 2.18 lakh. Her ordeal did not end there. Four months later, she developed issues and was hospitalised and ended up coughing up another Rs 1.29 lakh. She approached the consumer forum aggrieved by multiple operations and suffering. Shah had demanded reimbursement of a total of Rs 6.96 lakh that she had spent on the treatment due to the complications suffered and a compensation of Rs 25 lakh for physical and mental suffering she had to endure.

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