Decided on April 19,2005

N K Verma Respondents


- (1.)THE complainant in the Court below appeals against the judgment and order dated 30.4.2004 passed in Complaint Case No. 35/97 on the file of the District Consumer Forum, Dhanbad, whereby and whereunder his complaint was dismissed under the following circumstances:
The complainant/appellant, on 13.1.1997, met with an accident, as a result, he sustained fracture injuries in his left elbow. On the following day, the respondent doctor after seeing the report, plastered the fractured portion with plaster of paris and simultaneously prescribed certain medicines and advised rest. The plaster of paris was subsequently removed on 1.2.1997. After removal of plaster, the complainant was still having pain and a restricted movement of the fractured portion. The respondent doctor advised some medicines coupled with some exercises of finger, wrist, elbow and shoulder. It is alleged that even thereafter, no improvement was felt and the complainant again got x -rayed his left elbow and consulted another orthopaedic surgeon Dr. P.K. Chandak, who examined the x -ray screens and opined and advised operation within two to three days. Apart from that, he also advised to seek further expert opinion. The respondent doctor was again approached and informed him about the opinion of Dr. Chandak. The respondent doctor, however, has advised the appellant to continue with the medicines and physiotheraphy as suggested earlier. It is then alleged that taking into consideration of different opinions of the respondent doctor as well as Dr. P.K. Chandak, he consulted the doctor of BCCL Hospital, who advised the appellant to go to CMC Hospital, Velloor for further treatment. The appellant was accordingly went to Velloor where he was admitted on 19.2.1997 and subsequently operated but unfortunately cent percent result could not be achieved. Ultimately, the instant complaint was filed before the District Consumer Forum, Dhanbad on 6.6.1997 wherein a compensation of Rs. 5 lakhs was sought for due to negligence and wrong treatment at the hand of respondent Dr. N.K. Verma.

(2.)ON being noticed, the respondent doctor appeared and filed a petition with a prayer to call for the order of ex parte hearing which was allowed on payment of Rs. 50/ -. The respondent doctor then filed his response denying the allegations. The District Forum on hearing the parties and going through the materials available on record has passed the impugned order which is under challenge before us as stated above.
(3.)LEARNED Counsel appearing on behalf of the appellant has challenged the order and submitted that the respondent doctor in course of treatment in conservative methods ought to have done manupulative reduction under radiographic control. He further submitted that the respondent doctor should have taken post reduction X -ray for confirmation of the reduction but unfrotunatedly, the basic requirement for treatment of such fractured injury has not been followed. It is further submitted that the respondent doctor should have adopted the operative reduction when manupulative reduction under the conservative methods has failed to achieve the desired results. It is then submitted that the respondent doctor should have referred the patient to some other better equipped hospital for the specialised treatment but the respondent doctor continued the treatment for such a long period but admittedly the complainant did not feel any improvement which amounts to deficiency on the part of the respondent doctor. Learned Counsel has also submitted that the respondent doctor, during the course of treatment, was having no facilities for fixing of fractured bone through the radiographic screen which is a deficiency in rendering the medical service on the part of the respondent. In sum and substance, the complainant has to suffer both mentally, physically and financially because of the laches and negligence on the part of the respondent doctor. In support of his contentions, he has relied upon expert opinion of Watson -Jones who is of the view that for achievement of cent percent result in such cases manupulative reduction can be achieved only by radiographic control through X -ray machine. According to the learned Counsel, the respondent doctor without taking X -ray of the fractured portion has administered the plaster of paris which is not a recognised treatment for such fractured case.
In opposition, however, learned Counsel appearing on behalf of the respondent doctor submitted that the respondent has opted the right way of treatment through conservative method for such fractured injury. According to learned Counsel there was no dislocation of bones. It is further submitted that had there been any defect in administering the plaster of paris, there must have been some swelling after removing the plaster of paris but in the instant case there was no swelling at all on the fractured portion. The patient did not complain of any pain or any complication either. According to the learned Counsel, the respondent doctor has rightly opted for conservative method of treatment in the instant case, and in doing so, the respondent doctor has followed strictly the guidelines prescribed in the book of Watson Jones who is supposed to be the authority on the subject in hand. In sum and substance of the argument of learned Counsel is that there has been no laches, negligence and/or deficiency in rendering the medical service on the part of the respondent doctor while treating the patient. In course of argument an affidavit was filed by the respondent doctor wherein it has been stated as follows: "7. That plaster of paris was done under screen (X -ray control). The screen (X -ray control) was made by Dr. D. Mitra, a renowned Radiologist of Dhanbad, X -ray/Care Diagnonist Centre situated at Naya Bazar, Dhanbad, since 1986 and I am using the screen (X -ray control) since then.

8. That I left Pandit Clinic in the year 1999 and started my own Nursing Home in my residence situated in Nansh Vihar Colony, opposite to C.M.R.I. and the screen (x -ray control) is still available in my Nursing Home.

10 That on 1.2.1997, the patient came for removal of P.O.P. Before removal of P.O.P. and after removal of fractured bones were screened and found in a satisfactory alignment hence active exercise of elbow etc. were advised for 7 days and if not then wax bath and physiotheraphy if needed and I have mentioned in my prescription dated 1.2.1997.

11. That it is also pertinent to mention here that screen (X -ray control) is a routine work for me and as such same was not mentioned in my prescription.

13. That I adopted the treatment of appellant based on the book (Waston -Jones) Vol. II 5th addition at page 611 which clearly lays down "that close manipulation done under radiographic control and put the plaster at the right angle position for two weeks and then gentle active movement was started in the 3rd week and there is little difficulty in regaining full flexion movement over the next three or four months". It is thus very clear that plaster can be removed after two to three weeks.

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