Overwriting allegation overruled by the court

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Suffering from immense pain in his legs, Ram approached Bhandari Hospital & Research Center where the doctors advised Laser Assisted Disc Decompression (LADD) of L 3-4 and L 4-5. The surgery was performed and the patient was discharged after a few days. The pain however, didn’t subside and Ram approached SMS Hospital where an open surgery was performed which alleviated the pain.

Representatives of the hospital had no trouble in explaining what had really transpired. It was stated that the decision to perform LADD was based on MRI report and a proper consent was taken from the patient. It was further stated that the MRI report post LADD confirmed improvement as the right leg could be raised to 60 degrees against 30 degrees and the left leg could be raised to 90 degrees against 60 degrees before LADD. Moreover, the procedure performed at SMS hospital was an open surgery and quite different from LADD and hence the two cannot be compared. The overwriting was an error and was rectified by the doctor as soon as he saw it, and hence it cannot be construed as medical negligence, concluded the representatives of the hospital.

Leela had enough of time on her hands after those corrective surgeries to take some corrective measures of her own. She approached the Kerala State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, blaming the gynaecologist and Gautam Hospital for sheer negligence during the surgery for which she suffered a lot. Alleging medical negligence and deficiency in service during the surgery, she claimed compensation and demanded justice.

Based on the arguments and records presented, the Commission found it easy to reach a just conclusion. It was noted that overwriting was simply a case of human error and was rectified as soon as the mistake was observed by the treating doctors. It was further noted that the MRI scan post LADD confirmed that the procedure was performed on L 3-4 and L 4-5 and there was marginal improvement in the spinal canal dimensions at the disc level. Making these observations, the Commission stated the following: “I find force in this argument that it was a human error. One, the overwriting is very deliberate and very clear, the kind that is done to correct an error rather than cover track for which use of fluid or careful artistry to fudge is more likely. Two, I also find force in the argument advanced that if this overwriting is what caused doubt in the mind of the patient, it would surely have been mentioned in the legal notice served upon the hospital. The argument advanced that this was not mentioned in the legal notice because it was not necessary does not really wash”.

A just conclusion to an avoidable situation as the Commission cleared the air for Bhandari Hospital & Research Center.

Source: Order pronounced by Kerala State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission,New Delhi.