~For a medical accident or failure, the responsibility may or may not lie with the doctor.
• Background of the case:
~ The complainant's wife visited the treating doctor, during her second pregnancy and sought guidance after informing the doctor about her first daughter, suffering from Autism.
~ The doctor conducted the first Ultrasonography (USG) on 13.04.2013 and on 24.10.2013, the patient delivered a healthy female baby through normal delivery.
~ Few days after being discharged the baby's head had started to swell so they consulted a Paediatrician and the baby was diagnosed with Gross Communication Hydrocephalus.
~ Hydrocephalus could have been diagnosed easily during early pregnancy and they could have timely aborted the unwanted pregnancy.
~ The newborn baby underwent VP Shunt surgery and soon developed an infection; underwent treatment using numerous antibiotics and finally, the shunt was removed and the baby was discharged.
• Complainant's allegation:
~ The patient asked the doctor to carry out possible diagnostic tests to avoid any physical and mental defect to her 2nd child still second USG wasn't done.
~ Alleging medical negligence against the gynecologist and the treating hospital where the baby was born, they asked for compensation of Rs 2 crore with interest @24% p.a.
• Doctor's Defense:
~ The treating doctor, refuted all the allegations and submitted before the Commission that during the first USG, the baby was found to be normal.
~ The doctor had advised for Triple test and USG at 16 weeks of pregnancy, but it was denied by the mother.
~ As there was a history of the 1st child suffering from Autism, the doctor, to rule out congenital fetal anomalies, advised 2nd level USG and Triple Test on 11.05.2013.
~ The complainant intentionally did not file a discharge summary of the mother and the newborn which mentions the head circumference.
• The Commission held that:
~ The patient did not follow the instructions of the doctor to visit every 15 days and didn't undergo USG and Color Doppler study and the head circumference was found to be normal.
~ If the enlargement of the head, was started before 20 weeks, the size of the head would have been grossly enlarged and it could be easily detected at the birth, noted the Commission.
~ After going through all the facts and arguments related to the case, the commission opined that the treating doctor advised proper diagnostic tests during pregnancy to rule out anomalies.
~ The treating doctor showed a "reasonable degree of skill and knowledge and therefore, he cannot be held guilty of negligence by any stretch of the imagination", said the commission.
NATIONAL CONSUMER DISPUTES REDRESSAL COMMISSION NEW DELHI