#LegallySpeaking: Medicolegal Tip
Tip: "If a Surgeon or a Doctor opt for one of the two accepted procedures, it cannot be said that he is guilty of negligence”
• Facts of the Case:
~ The Patient was advised by the Cardiologist for CMV (Closed Mitral Valvotomy) to be performed as this procedure would be more effective and less expensive.
~ However, instead of carrying out CMV, the cardio specialist of the hospital resorted to open-heart surgery.
• Patient's Allegation:
~ When the patient again developed some problems, she was advised 2nd heart surgery, which was beyond her monetary means.
~ Closed mitral valvotomy instead of open mitral valvotomy should have been performed upon her. Hence the Complaint about Negligence.
• Doctor's Defense:
~ The mitral valve was competent and did not require any repair, however, the tricuspid valve required repair which was done.
~ When the patient again came to the hospital, it was diagnosed with mitral incompetence & was advised for valve replacement.
~ Mitral incompetence was not because of any negligence in the operation performed but was a manifestation of a known risk of said operation, which was also recorded in operative notes.
~ Open valvotomy had to be resorted to since the tricuspid valve needed to be repaired.
• National Commission Held:
~ There was no deficiency in conducting the first surgery.
~ As long as a doctor follows a practice acceptable to the medical profession of that day, he cannot be held liable for negligence merely because a better alternative course or method of treatment was also available.