In case of an emergency, you can be allowed to deviate from protocol
- Court are generally lenient in emergency situations wherein doctors need to deviate from standard procedure
- Surgery should be performed, in spite of any contraindications or abnormal vitals, only in life-threatening emergencies and medically justified and strong reasons
- Courts take into account factors like the period of medical act, locality, infrastructure and others in deciding cases of medical negligence
- Pre-surgery investigations must be performed even in cases of emergencies
The surgeon proceeded with surgery to remove roundworms even though the patient's platelet counts were low, and sought to justify his decision on the ground that it was an emergency.
Findings of the court:
Even though the medical expert opined in the court that as "the platelets were excessively low, no surgery should be resorted to without increasing the platelet count.", the court did not hold the surgeon negligent for proceeding with surgery, but "wee bit negligent" for failure to diagnose bleeding tendency (haemophilia). The court directed only the hospital to pay compensation and not the surgeon