#LegallySpeaking: Case of a Patient With TB Spine
• Tip:

~ When a patient suffers an unanticipated injury/death, exgratia is given to the affected party despite no negligence.

• Background of the case:

~ The case concerns the patient who had been suffering from backache and undergoing treatment when she approached the treating doctor at the hospital.

~ The doctor advised immediate surgery which was performed on the next day and she was discharged from the hospital a few days later.

~ She was re-admitted to the treating hospital with complaints of backache, loss of appetite, and weakness, at that time her husband informed that she had a history of TB Spine.

~ However, the condition didn't approve and the patient got admitted to a second hospital, still, her condition remained the same.

~ A Few months later, the patient consulted another doctor who diagnosed her as 'cold abscesses caused due to TB of spine which was drained out and the patient got some relief.

• Complainant's allegation:

~ The complainant alleged that the doctor at the first hospital performed the surgery without conducting the necessary tests to diagnose TB.

~ This ultimately resulted in the patient's prolonged illness as she was bed-ridden for months and suffered mental agony.

• Doctor's Defense:

~ In his evidence, the Head of the Department of Neurosurgery stated that the diagnosis was based on non-specific tests like ESR and Montoux Test.

~ Even the pus aspiration did not confirm the TB and the Pus culture was negative; therefore it was suspected as Koch's and empirical treatment was started to which the patient moderately responded.

• The Commission held that:

~ The Commission noted that the treating doctor examined her and diagnosed it a case of L4 L5 prolapse, as there was no sign of TB Spine in either X-ray or MRI of the spine.

~ The doctor performed a laminectomy and the medical record showed that at the time of discharge the operative wound was healed and the patient did not have any pain or neurological signs.

~ There was no negligence while conducting the surgery and detection of Koch's spine after 6 months has no nexus with the laminectomy.

~ Considering the facts and the suffering of the patient the commission requested the hospital 1 be magnanimous and pay only Rs.50,000/- as an exgratia amount to the Complainant.

National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, New Delhi
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