Recently, the NCDRC held an AIIMS doctor guilty of medical negligence as the patient loses voice after the surgery.
The bench of Justices S.M. Kantikar and Binoy Kumar stated that “the operative procedure adopted by the doctor and hospital was an accepted reasonable standard of practice, but not having proper informed consent, amounts to negligence per se.”
In this case, the Complainant was examined in AIIMS by Dr. Arvind Kumar (OP No.2) and surgery was advised for the ‘Anterior Mediastinum Tumor’. The doctor and his team performed surgery Median ‘Sternotomy’ and ‘Thymectomy’. After the operation, the Complainant was told by the doctor (OP No. 2) that he had to cut his left Phrenic Nerve as the same was passing through the Tthymaic mass and there was no other option left to remove the thymas mass. The consequence of cutting off the left Phrenic Nerve was that his left diaphragm was raised and exists like this till date.
As soon as the Complainant regained consciousness he realized that he was not able to speak and informed the doctor. He took it very lightly. The Complainant went to the ENT Department (AIIMS) to get himself examined for the problem of voice suffered by him.
After examination, the ENT Department of AIIMS declared left cord palsy (post-operative) and suggested the Complainant for speech Therapy.
Dr. Arvind OP No. 2 based on the HPE report advised radiotherapy as a proper treatment, but Complainant did not show any improvement in his voice or movement of the left vocal cord.Being aggrieved the Complainant filed complaint before the State Commission and claimed an amount of Rs. 65,25,000/- as compensation from the OPs.The State Commission allowed the complaint.The issue for consideration before the bench was:Whether the hospital and doctor are liable for negligence or not?The Commission noted that due to achieving complete tumour excision the ipsilateral phrenic nerve was chosen by the OP-2. It is an accepted mode of treatment. It was not proper by leaving part of the tumour, as it would have endangered the patient’s life in future. Thus, it was due diligence that the doctor (OP-2) exercised the care during the entire procedure.