Pune District Consumer Grievance Redressal Forum (PDCGRF) has directed Grant Medical Foundation’s Ruby Hall Clinic to pay Rs 11.5 lakh to the father of an eight-year-old girl who reportedly lost her eyesight after she was administered an inappropriate dose of an anaesthetic agent during a heart surgery at the hospital in 2008. The forum observed that the girl acquired a disability due to the deficiency in service provided by the hospital, surgeon concerned, and anaesthesiologist.
According to a complaint by Santosh Jagdale, a resident of Ojhar in Pune District, his daughter Urmila, a Class II student, complained of chest pain on December 18, 2008, following which she was admitted to Ruby Hall Clinic. After her examination at the hospital, doctors recommended that she needed a surgery.
On December 22, 2008, Dr Anway Mulay performed the surgery on the girl after she was given an anaesthesia by an anaesthesiologist working at the hospital. Soon after the surgery, her health deteriorated and for 15 days Urmila remained unconscious in the Intensive Care Unit. As there was no improvement in her health, Jagdale asked the hospital to discharge her and took her home. After a few days, she regained her consciousness but complained of poor eyesight and weakness.
When Jagdale sought an explanation form the hospital, he was told that she would improve after medication. However, as her condition did not improve Jagdale admitted Urmila to Wadia Hospital in Parel, Mumbai. The hospital referred Urmila to Parimal Diagnostic Centre where Dr Meher Ursekar claimed that Urmila was given an inappropriate amount of anaesthesia and hence her health deteriorated. He submitted his report to the Wadia Hospital.
Demanding compensation from Ruby Hall Clinic, Jagdale approached the consumer forum with a complaint that his daughter lost her eyesight due to the negligence by the hospital. He said that she has become disabled for life, thereby affecting her education.
In its response, Ruby Hall Clinic denied the allegation and said there was no negligence on the part of the surgeon or the anaesthesiologist.
“Soon after the patient was admitted to the hospital, Dr Sunil Sathe had performed Cardiac Catheteriasation Angiography on the patient and based on the observations advised a Surgery of Tetralogy of Fallot Correction Under General Anaesthesia (TOF). Accordingly Dr Mulay performed TOF and Dr Swami gave the anaesthesia. The health parameters of the patient were stable through the night, but the next day she got fever, which led to some complications. This is when we realised that the patient had a ‘cerebral problem’. Later, the MRI examination revealed that she had Hypoxic Encephalopathy. But there’s no proof that there there was any mistake on part of the surgeon,” said the hospital.
After hearing both the sides, the forum held that the respondent failed to submit any documents or literature to show there was no negligence on the part of the doctor during the operation. Also, they failed to submit their reply on the visually-handicapped certificate issued by the Sassoon General Hospital and the reasons for the visual compilations cited by Sassoon. The certificate issued by the Sassoon mentions that the girl lost her eyesight as her brain did not receive adequate oxygen supply during the surgery. Dr Ursekar of Parimal Diagnostic Centre also claimed the girl lost her eyesight as she was given an extra dose of anaesthesia. The complainant has submitted both these certificates to the forum, observed the forum.
In its judgment the forum said, “The forum is of the opinion that Urmila lost her eyesight and became handicap due to the deficiency in service by Ruby Hall Clinic, the doctor and the anaesthesiologist. This has caused her a tremendous loss. Also, her father has to now take care of her for her entire life. For this Ruby Hall Clinic, R Mulay and Sathe are responsible personally and collectively. Hence, we order that respondents should collectively pay Rs 7 lakh as compensation in the form of a fixed deposit in a nationlised bank. They should also pay the girl’s father Rs 3.5 lakh for the amount he spent on her treatment and an additional Rs 1 lakh as compensation for physical and mental harassment.”