~ Dr would be liable only where the conduct falls below the standards of a reasonably competent practitioner in the field.
• Background of the case:
~ The patient had suffered a road accident and sustained bodily injuries and was given first-aid at a Government hospital, he was then referred to another hospital.
~ The treating doctor examined and diagnosed him having a fracture of the femur on the right side, later the patient underwent surgery.
~ As the pain didn't reduce, he contacted another doctor who opined that there was a fracture of the loin bone and advised the patient to approach the same hospital where he was first operated on.
~ He approached the hospital where he was advised bone grafting for which he didn't agree and later was diagnosed with a displaced intra-capsular fracture of neck femur and was again advised surgery.
~ Unable to bear the cost of another operation, the complainant approached a Government Hospital for further treatment.
• Complainant's allegation:
~ The patient contended that an X-ray taken before the operation didn't show any intracapsular fracture of the neck femur. However, the X-ray taken after surgery within 24 hours, clearly revealed it.
~ Alleging medical negligence against the treating hospital, the complainant approached the District Forum and claimed a total amount of Rs. 16,97,800/- as compensation.
• Doctor's Defense:
~ Denying that the fracture of the loin bone had occurred during the surgery, the hospital submitted that the Complaint was false, misconceived, and not maintainable.
~ The hospital further submitted before the District Forum that the complainant was initially treated at a Government hospital, wherein the X-rays showed only fracture of the femur shaft.
• The Commission held that:
~ Failure to take appropriate X-rays with external rotation of the shaft of the femur to rule out the presence of a sub-clinical occult fracture may account for pre-operative misdiagnosis.
~ Taking note of the fact that in 1/3rd of cases of a femoral neck fracture, the diagnosis is either delayed or missed, the Commission observed.
~ The complainant had established that the delay/failure in the diagnosis of fracture neck femur contributed to the unfavorable outcome and the treating doctor failed in the duty of care in the administration of treatment.
~ The commission directed the treating hospital to pay compensation of Rs.5 lac with interest @ 6% per annum from the date of filing of the Complaint.
NATIONAL CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL COMMISSION, NEW DELHI