An aspect of a court case that could be relevant to doctors was reported recently in the newspaper, The Times of India. For the case shows that documentary evidence would suffice to establish medical negligence.

The case in question relates to one Geeta Khalho who, being pregnant was admitted in the Arogya Niketan Prasuti Grih & Nursing Home at Ambikapur in Chattisgarh under Sr.Krian Agarwar. On May 12, 2010 the delivery was performed through cesarean section.

However, after the delivery Geeta developed abdominal pain. She underwent a CT scan at the Raghunath District Hospital. A foreign body was suspected. To cut a long story short, she underwent a surgery at Arihant Hospital, performed by Dr Anju Goel. A surgical mop was removed from Geeta’s abdomen that was left behind during the cesarean procedure.

Alleging negligence, Geeta filed a complaint before the District Forum against Dr.Kiran Agrawal and the nursing home he ran.
The doctor and the nursing home were found guilty and ordered to reimburse the money for the subsequent surgery that removed the mop. Geeta was also to be given a compensation of Rs. 2 lakh.

But the order was challenged. Dr.Kiran Agrawal argued that not only had Geeta not filed the affidavit, Dr.Anju Goel was not examined to prove that a mop was indeed removed from her abdomen. So, there existed no proof that shows that a mop was left behind.

But a subsequent judgement made by Justice Ajit Bharihoke and Dr S M Kantikar, the National Commission observed that the argument lacked merit, mentioning that the CT scan report prior to the second surgery was proof enough for the presence of a foreign body. Also, the fact that Dr Anju Goel removed the foreign body was recorded in the discharge card.

The TOI article points to the clear-cut conclusion that medical negligence can be established without leading proof from the doctor who performed a subsequent surgery, provided there is documentary evidence.

The landmark order came on July 22.

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