Apollo Hospitals and five doctors working there were directed to pay ₹15 lakh compensation for medical negligence after a 53-year-old patient slipped into coma and died.
The Telangana State Consumer Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission bench comprising president M.S.K. Jaiswal and member Meena Ramanathan was dealing with a complaint filed by the victim’s family - E. Shantha Kumari, M.E. Sowmya and M.E. Tarun. The opposite parties were Apollo Hospitals and doctors working there.
The complainants stated that the victim, M.R. Easwaran, was called for colonoscopy on September 20, 2012. He had to wait for three hours before the test was done. A few minutes after taking him into the room, anxious nurses rushed out to get an oxygen cylinder. The patient slipped into a coma, was on ventilator for 116 days, and died on January 14, 2013.
For their part, the opposite parties stated that the victim had diabetes and hypertension and was undergoing treatment for the past eight years. He was admitted with complaints of abdominal pain for the past 45 days and had vomited twice on the day of admission. After his health condition was evaluated, he was found to have tenderness in the right hypochondriac region and was advised a CT abdomen. A further evaluation required colonoscopy and biopsy from bowel loops.
A few minutes after the colonoscopy began, the victim’s heart rate and blood pressure fell, and was taken to the ICU. Doctors concluded that he suffered severe hypoxic encephalopathy and the prognosis for recovery was poor. The opposite parties maintained he was thoroughly examined and a proper evaluation was done. They also stated that the victim was consulted only for blood sugar management.
Taking the evidence and arguments placed on record, the commission noted that colonoscopy was performed on August 29, 2012, at Mediciti Hospitals, and wondered why the opposite parties conducted a similar investigation. The commission stated that they had gone into the facts and circumstances to arrive at their conclusion.
“It is our considered view that sedation-related complications which rarely occur during the GIE procedure caused the untimely death of the patient. The opposite parties could have prevented this complication by taking relevant medical and drug history before the procedure with particular detail since the patient was diabetic and hypertensive,” the commission stated.
The commission found that the opposite parties did not follow “appropriate pre-sedation assessment and preparation of the patient.”
Apart from directing the opposite parties, except Dr Santosh, to pay compensation, costs of ₹15,000 were imposed.