~ 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