#LegallySpeaking: Medico-Legal Tip
Tip: "Anaesthesia should be administered only by qualified anaesthetists and not by the surgeon themselves"
The case relates to the review petition filed by a doctor against the order of A.P. State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, which held the doctor negligent and liable to compensate.
Facts of the case:
A patient visited doctor who is a reputed ENT Specialist and Surgeon, for treatment of his decreasing hearing capability. The doctor advised him for Stapedotomy operation on the right ear. Accordingly, the patient was admitted to his hospital and was operated upon by the doctor on the same day. The local anaesthesia was administered by the surgeon/doctor himself and the operation was completed.
Patient’s condition was not properly monitored post-operation in a careful manner by the treating doctor and when the condition of the patient suddenly deteriorated on the next day morning, there was no service of any anaesthetist available in the hospital for treating the patient.
The surgeon administered local anaesthesia as it is considered quite safe as compared to general anaesthesia (where the services of anaesthetist are required). When the condition of the patient deteriorated suddenly, doctors called an anaesthetist who became available in the hospital immediately. However, the condition of the patient had deteriorated so much that he could not treat him and the patient was shifted to another hospital.
Findings of the court:
• The expert report called by the criminal court clearly mentions that the convulsion may be long delayed action of anaesthesia and it is also mentioned that the deceased died due to complications of anaesthesia given by the surgeon.
• An independent report was also submitted in the court which was considered as an expert report. "...The expert report called by the criminal court clearly mentions that the convulsion may be long delayed action of anaesthesia and it also mentioned that the deceased died due to complications of anaesthesia given by the surgeon..."
• " Therefore, Anaesthesia should be administered only by qualified anaesthetists and not by the surgeon themselves"
Note: The objective of the #LegallySpeaking initiative is to spread awareness about the medicolegal implications of commonly encountered scenarios in a clinician's daily practice.