The Delhi State Consumer Forum on May 27, 2019, in the case of Swapnil Mishra v. Pushpanjali Healthcare, has awarded a sum of ₹25 lakhs to a woman, who lost her unborn baby, after a local hospital wrongly advised her to plan their first baby simultaneously with TB medicines.
The 28-year-old Swapnil Mishra’s ordeal did not end at the first hospital, as another hospital in Delhi left a portion of the dead fetus in the womb, following an operation, forcing her to undergo re-surgery resulting in further medical complications.
After complaining of heavy pain during her period, Ms. Mishra went to Pushpanjali Healthcare in Vaishali, Ghaziabad in November 2011 for a medical check-up. There, she was referred to Dr. Sharda Jain, who advised her to undergo a battery of tests including Pathogen Assisted Molecular Pattern (PAMP).
The result of the tests shocked her as Dr. Jain declared her to be suffering from edometrium Tuberculosis.
Despite the diagnosis and heavy medicine, Dr. Jain advised her to immediately plan their first baby, even while taking medication for TB, as otherwise it would be too late for them.
After pregnancy, the woman suffered complications and after conducting some tests with other doctors, they found that the growth of her baby was not proper. She then went to Fortis Le Femme Centre for Women at Greater Kailash, where she was referred to Dr. Neena Singh.
Dr. Singh advised the complainant to wait for 15 days to watch the progress of the baby and advised the ultrasound test. After 15 days, the ultrasound report declared the baby was lost. The doctor advised her to go for D&C (Dilation and curettage).
Within some days after D&C, complainant experienced very severe pain in her lower abdomen and on checking with the family physician who advised ultrasound test, it was revealed that operation of D&C was not done properly and that part of pregnancy admeasuring around 6”18mm was still left inside the body.
Dr. Singh apologised for her blunder and offered to do another D&C free of cost, during which she scratched the uterus so extensively that it damaged the wall of the endometium causing the very rare disease known as Ashmerman Syndrome. The disease is capable of terminating the chances of fertility and may shatter the dream of a lady to become a mother.
The couple had to run from pillar to post for over two years to get a competent doctor to enable her to conceive again.
The woman then moved the consumer forum for compensation.
Judicial member O.P. Gupta while passing the order noted that a doctor cannot be allowed to misguide the patient just for earning money. He said that a doctor is also not expected to make the patient scared and advise unnecessary costly tests.
“The test conducted on complainant for ascertaining TB was banned, conception during TB is not desirable. Despite that she was advised to plan for baby immediately,” he said.
Further, he also said that “The act and conduct of OP-4 (Dr. Singh) in doing the D&C a second time to remove the left out part is highly condemnable. In the process she scratched the uterus so extensively that it damaged the wall of the endometium causing the very rare disease known as Asherman Syndrome that led to serious problems to the complainant.”
Thus, the consumer court held the hospitals and doctors “guilty of medical negligence and deficiency in service” and awarded compensation of ₹25 lakhs to the woman. However, it declined the plea to initiate penal action against erring doctors and hospitals.