Medico-legal Case #4 - The HOD of a hospital need not personally attend a patient, even if the patient was referred to the HOD personally
Facts of the case -
A patient approached an Obgyn who performed a USG that confirmed a healthy 9-week fetus with twins. During a routine check-up 6 months later, the patient complained of swelling and itching on the whole body. The Obgyn suspected jaundice, and hence advised LFT which reported that the patient had Acute Fatty Liver of Pregnancy (AFLP). The patient was referred to the hospital where she was diagnosed with jaundice, leucocytosis, and coagulopathy with deranged kidney and liver function. A CS was performed after waiting for spontaneous vaginal delivery for a few hours, and twins were delivered at the hospital. Few days later, the patient's health worsened as she started to bleed inside the peritoneal cavity due to severe coagulopathy and fulminant liver failure. The patient had a cardiac arrest and died 9 days after delivering the twins.
Patient's allegation of medical negligence -
- It was alleged that the patient was referred to the HOD, Obgyn Dept but was examined and treated by junior doctors of the hospital. It was further alleged that the HOD gave instructions to the junior doctors over the phone, rather than personally attending the patient
- It was alleged that the doctors at the hospital wasted 3-4 hours to prepare for CS whereas it ought to have been performed as soon as the patient was brought to the hospital
- It was alleged that the Obgyn did not advise a repeat USG after the initial stage, did not take the patient's problem seriously, and dealt in a casual manner due to which jaundice was not detected at an early stage.
Know more about the doctor's defense, the Court's Ruling and the suggested precautions here - http://mlcd.in/article.asp?issn=0974-1232;year=2016;volume=9;issue=8;spage=133;epage=134;aulast=