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--------------- Print Magazine --------------
 
  May 2016
 
  April 2016
 
 
 
 
CASE STUDY - By Anoop K. Kaushal
Expert Medical Opinion is subject to Judicial Scrutiny
NIVEDITA SINGH v. DR. ASHA BHARTI

Revision Petition No. 715 of 2010 pronounced on 26 th May, 2010 by the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, New Delhi.

The petitioner was admitted to Ghazipur District Women Hospital in connection with delivery due to her. She delivered a child without there being any complication in the process of delivery. As usual, a small cut in the delivery canal was made by respondent Doctors to facilitate smooth delivery of child. Since delivery was followed by bleeding from delivery canal, Doctors attending her adopted process of lithotomy, which is said to be routine procedure of a delivery case. Petitioner had a strong grievance against the process adopted by treating Doctor when her legs were hung higher to the level of her body, causing impediment in normal flow of blood towards toes of her feet. She alleged that as a consequence, the first and second toes of her right foot got blackened and developed gangrene. Be that as it may, she was discharged from respondent hospital pursuant to which she was taken and admitted to another Nursing Home at Varanasi. However, despite treatment she could not get respite and then she was taken to Safdarjung Hospital, New Delhi where she was suggested amputation of the two toes. She also took consultation at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital and eventually was admitted in Mool Chand Khairati Ram Hospital where the first and second toes of her right foot were amputated, for which her parents had to incur a sum of Rs.14 lakhs over her treatment. Alleging deficiency on part of respondent Doctors, nurses and hospital as also Insurance Company, a complaint was filed with District Forum. Attributions so made were negated by respondents disowning medical negligence on their part or any deficiency in service. Taking refuge behind discharge note, which did not allegedly show sign of her toes having suffered injury, their defence was that she had injury in her toes prior to her being taken to hospital for delivery. District Forum analyzing evidence accepted defence of respondents and consequently dismissed complaint. State Commission, too, for want of credible evidence about petitioner having suffered gangrene in toes following lithotomy adopted by respondents, having affirmed finding of District Forum, dismissed appeal.

Focal issue that was raised by petitioner in complaint was that when bleeding following delivery of child could not be arrested, her feet were hung in air and she was kept in that position for a longer period and hence there was no supply of blood to feet and eventually toes were rendered deficient and she developed gangrene.

It was observed that though after discharge from respondent hospital on 1 st of November, 2004 petitioner was treated at another Nursing Home in Varanasi, Safdarjung Hospital, New Delhi, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital and also Mool Chand Khairati Ram Hospital, where first and second toes of her right foot were amputated, none of the Doctors attending her in these hospitals ever expressed opinion about her toes having developed gangrene as a fall out of delivery process that was carried out in respondent hospital. Though a certificate issued by an independent doctor was pressed into service on behalf of petitioner who was of the view that since petitioner was kept for two hours in lithotomy position, that might have developed gangrene. State Commission, however, did not give credence to the said certificate for the reasons that certificate in question was issued by the Doctor after 1½ months of amputation of her toes and that apart, evidences did not show that the said Doctor had accompanied the surgeon who performed amputation of toes of petitioner.

Held: Though plethora of decisions were put on record before State Commission, it rightly, in our view, finding no evidence about deficiency on part of respondents had affirmed finding of District Forum. Since we have affirmed finding of fact returned by fora below, we do not wish to burden our order with decisions cited by parties at bar about maintainability of complaint by a person who was treated in a government hospital qua hospital and Doctors attending him. This being so, we find no merit in Revision Petition, which is resultantly dismissed with no order as to costs.

Anoop K. Kaushal, Advocate - kaushal@justice.com
 
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