Decided on November 17,2009

Vimhans Hospital Appellant
Anand Kumar Jha Respondents

Referred Judgements :-



M.L.SAHNI,MEMBER - (1.)THIS Appeal by OP -1,VIMHANS Hospital and OP -2 , Dr. A.K. Banerji (hereinafter referred to as Appellant Nos. 1 and 2 respectively) is directed against the order dated 10.11.2006 passed by the learned District Forum -II, New Delhi in complaint case No. 386/2005.
(2.)BRIEFLY stated, the facts of the case , are that Smt. Meera Devi, mother of the complainant (hereinafter referred to as Respondent) was admitted in the Appellant -1 hospital on 17.7.2004 under the care of Appellant -2 with the complaint of neck pain for about 4 years. After investigation the deceased was diagnosed as Cranio -Vertebral Junction Anomaly (Atlanto Axial Dislocation) and suspected Pulmonary Embolism. Appellant -2 advised surgery for posterior decompression and occipital -C 2 fixation with titanium cables. According to the complainant, who is the son of the deceased , he was assured verbally by the Appellants that the patient would be fully cured within 2 weeks of operation. The operation was admittedly conducted by Appellant -2 Dr. A.K. Banerji, a neurosurgeon on 20.7.2004 at Appellant -1 hospital. After the operation medicines were allegedly changed frequently by the doctors and the patient started feeling nervous after administration of medicines. It is alleged by the Respondent that the patient became unable to move any limb and then whole body got paralysed ; that due to unhygienic conditions in the ward the patient's conditions was adversely affected ; that in the morning of 16.8.04 the patient complained of chest pain, vomited and also suffered breathing problem; that the doctors did not attend to the patient immediately and ultimately the patient was shifted to ICU at 8.50 a.m. where she was declared dead at 1.20 p.m.
(3.)BOTH the Appellants contested the complaint. In their respective replies filed before the District Forum, they denied the allegations of negligence or unhygienic conditions. It was also deined that Dr. Banerji left surgery to his junior doctors. The defence taken by the Appellant is that in addition to neck -pain the patient also had weakness in the left half of the body as well as numbness on the left side as per examination on admission to the hospital and that the weakness and numbness of the whole body increased considerably after the surgery which is known complication of this type of surgery. It has been further stated that this possibility was explained to the patient's relatives before surgery. It has been further stated that post -operatively the patient was put on high dose of steroids and Methyl prednisolone because of deterioration of her condition. She started showing improvement . Power in her legs also improved. Later, she developed behavioural changes which were diagnosed as steroid psychosis, a known complication of steroid therapy. Therefore, steroids were stopped by Dr. Banjerjee and she recovered. It has been further stated that patient's condition deteriorated suddenly on the morning of 16th August, 2004 and she had sudden onset of respiratory distress. She was immediately shifted to ICU where she suffered a cardio -respiratory -arrest. Despite all efforts she could not be resuscitated and expired.
After hearing both the contending parties and examining the material on record, the District Forum, concluded that since the patient did not have any history of heart problems before the surgery and had only limited mild hemiparesis on the left side, the onus shifted on the Appellants to show and explain that the quadripareses and cardiac arrest did not occur due to any negligence on their part. The Appellants have simply stated that the attack of quadriparesis is the common complication of the procedure conducted on the complainant. However, there is no evidence to prove this defence of the Appellants. After the surgery the deceased suffered quadriparesis. This shows that something seriously went wrong during the surgery. She also suffered steroid induced psyschosis. The deceased was not suffering from any heart problem before the surgery. She suffered the cardiac -arrest due to traumatic experience she had underwent during the surgery. To absolve themselves of any medical negligence on their parts Appellants have not given satisfactory explanation .

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