An ENT doctor who botched up a surgical procedure and caused the death of a poor woman has been ordered to compensate her family.
The State Consumer Commission has imposed a penalty of `6.09 lakh on him and the superintendent of his hospital.
K T Lakshmi Devi (26), a daily wager, was admitted to Ellen Thombern Cowen Memorial Hospital, Kolar, on October 27, 2006, for her second delivery.
At 7.30 am, an hour after she was admitted, Dr Paul, an ENT specialist attached to the hospital, conducted a C-section procedure, delivering a baby girl.
He also conducted a tubectomy though he holds no certification to perform such procedures.
Dr Paul had not summoned a gynaecologist and anaesthetist, as stipulated, and allegedly removed the baby from her womb negligently. Lakshmi Devi started crying uncontrollably.
Her condition deteriorated over the next two days, with the hospital allegedly failing to give her proper treatment.
She was shifted to R L Jalappa Hospital, which kept her in the ICU, but she did not survive more than four hours. Lakshmi Devi’s mother Lakshmamma complained to the Deputy Commissioner, Kolar, who in turn referred the matter to the District Surgeon.
An inquiry revealed professional negligence on the part of Dr Paul and Dr Rajdas, superintendent of the hospital. Lakshmamma then filed a complaint before the Kolar District Consumer Redressal Forum, which dismissed her petition. Challenging its ruling, Lakshmamma appealed before the State Consumer Commission. Dr Paul and Dr Rajdas contended the operation was a success as a baby had been delivered.
Lakshmamma’s counsel submitted that Dr Paul had conducted the C-section without keeping the required blood at hand. He had also performed tubectomy and neglected post-surgical care of the mother and child.
Dr Paul pleaded that he had conducted the procedure for free. That argument did not hold water as the petitioner produced receipts to prove the hospital had been paid `15,000. He also claimed he had performed C-section procedures and gained the experience to conduct sterilisations. The commission, headed by Justice K Ramanna, observed the government had authorised certain doctors to conduct childbirth procedures, and Dr Paul was not one of them.
It is a surgeon’s duty to summon a gynaecologist and anaesthetist before the operation. Doctors should be qualified, and not take up such cases to practise their skills, the court said.
Lakshmamma, who earns only `100 to `120 a day, has to take care of her two minor grandchildren. The commission directed Dr Paul and Dr Rajdas to pay her `6.09 lakh with interest and litigation costs.
The Consumer Commission issued its order on November 8, 2013. When Express called up Dr Paul on May 7, a full six months later, he said he had not received the judgment.