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Mumbai: Doctors asked to pay Rs. 28 lakhs to woman for medical negligence

09:00 AM Nov 21, 2021 | Urvi Mahajani

Declaring that two doctors were responsible for an injury a woman sustained to her ureter during a surgery conducted by them in 2010, the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has ordered them to pay a total compensation of over Rs. 28.5 lakhs to the patient.

The commission found there was negligence on their part in not maintaining proper medical records, obtaining informed consent and maintaining detailed operation notes. It noted that the doctors had themselves admitted before the Maharashtra Medical Council that the injury to the ureter was accidental.

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The commission said they are responsible for that and that it does not hesitate to declare that they were negligent in providing medical services, which led to complications.

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The doctors - Dr Seema Shanbhag and Dr Ujjwal Mahajan, have been asked to pay Rs. 10 lakhs each to her for the injury she sustained and the life-long follow-up expenses.

The Dombivili resident had spent Rs. 3.16 lakhs as medical expenses after the surgery. The commission ordered them to reimburse the amount. It also directed them both to pay Rs. 5 lakhs for mental agony and physical harassment.

“When the patient is within the four walls of the operation theatre to which the relatives don’t have access, it is the responsibility and legal liability of the doctors to explain what went wrong,” it said.

The doctors had contended that they had followed medical protocol. The commission said that the documents placed on record do not show any specific precautions taken by them to avoid the ureteral injury or to recheck it.

It said that operation notes are very important to know the steps taken in the operation, any difficulty or complication detected on the operation table, but that, in the present case, it does not have an opportunity to know what happened during the operation.

The woman in her complaint before the commission had stated that she had been referred by her family physician to Dr Seema Shanbag. On the advice of Dr Shanbhag, she decided to undergo surgery for the surgical removal of the uterus at Shree Krishna Surgical and Maternity Hospital, Dombivili. In the surgery that took place in Nov 2010, she later learnt that Dr Mahajan had also played a role.

A few days after the surgery, she experienced abdominal pain and vomiting and Dr Shanbag gave her medicines. Her problem continued and she was referred to a urologist. Thereafter, the Dombivali resident said, she had to undergo a major operation in April 2011.

She complained that it is due to the negligence of the treating doctors that her ureter was injured during the primary surgery as a result of which she had to undergo a major operation. She said she is advised to take precautions for her whole life due to the major procedure and there could be possible complications in future too.

The doctors had denied negligence on their part and stated that injury to the ureter during the operation is a known complication. They had also claimed that the patient had a rare condition before the operation itself and her post-operative problems were due to it.

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