A Gynaecologist to receive Rs.19 lakhs for faulty eye surgery from an Ophthalmologist

The Delhi State Consumer Commission was dealing with the case, where both the parties were Doctors..

Case Details
Dr. (Mrs.) Prakash Sharma V/s. Dr. Sharad Lakhotia & anr.
CC No. 283/2001, decided on 27/04/2017.

Facts in short :
1.The Complainant, a Senior gynecologist from Delhi approached (November – 1998) the Respondent Ophthalmologist for vision problem in her left eye. After investigation, the complainant was advised to undergo cataract surgery & also for implantation of Intra-Ocular-Lens (IOL) The complainant was assured that the IOL implantation was 100% safe and a latest technique.
2. After the surgery, which was successful according to the treating Doctor, Complainant however immediately told the Dr. that she had a blurred vision and could not see with the left eye. After testing on some machines, it was told to her that lens needed slight ‘refocusing/re-centering’. It took about 2 hrs and thereafter the Complainant was discharged with the assurance of perfect surgery.
3. However even after 2 weeks, her vision did not improve, she took the 2nd opinion from Lion Hospital and Research Center, New Delhi. To the much of her dismay and horror, she was told that there was no IOL implant in her left eye. Condition was described as “Aphakia with tear in PC (Posterior Capsule) mild iritis etc”
4. Thus the Complainant filed the complaint alleging that the Doctor had not only duped and cheated her but due to his
gross negligence, permanent, irreversible injury and damage to her left eye was caused and it has affected her capacity to earn her livelihood, and claimed Rs.19 lakhs towards negligence.
5. The Doctor refuted all the allegations. It was argued that after the 1st surgery, the Doctor went home and came back in the same day evening to the Hospital and stated that as she had a fall at her home, she started feeling that her vision had blurred. This the IOL was removed with the express consent of the Complainant and that a secondary IOL was to be implanted after two months. But the Complainant did not turn for post-op treatment.

Held :
1. The Commission not only allowed the complaint, but also directed MCI to take appropriate action against the Doctor.
2. The Ophthalmologist Doctor has nowhere recorded having observed ‘posterior capsule rupture’ or ‘iritis’. These were most important events which nowhere appeared in the records placed before this Commission. The Opponents did not file material evidence before the Commission and thus an adverse inference was drawn against the Opponents.
3. The Expert committee absolved the Doctors. However it was observed by the Commission that in the absence of surgery notes, enquiry committee could not have arrived at a conclusion that there was no negligence on the part of the treating doctors !
4. the plea of handing over of the lens to the husband of the patient is also false. The consent form was also held to be fabricated one.
5. The Talwar Medical Center, the Opponent No.2 was also held negligent and having hand in glove with the Opponent No.1 Doctor and directed the Hospital to deposit Rs. 20 lakhs in the Consumer Welfare Fund.

This case is of nearly 20 years back. Now perhaps the technique used is much much advanced. Still it’s a lesson for others in respect of keeping perfect record and taking proper informed consent and to do the practice ethically.

Adv. Rohit Erande

Disclaimer: image used in this post is only for representation.It does not have any association with any Doctor.

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