Months after splenectomy in 2015, woman’s kin find spleen was never removed; awarded Rs 9 lakh by consumer court

In 2015, Savitri Sharma (57) approached Sir Gangaram Hospital to get her spleen removed. A procedure was performed on her in February that year, and she was sent home. After five months, while perusing her ultrasound report, the family of the woman, who suffered from cancer in the lymphatic system, found out that her spleen was never removed. She died in June that year.

On Friday, the Delhi State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission awarded Basant Lal Sharma — the husband of the patient — over Rs 9 lakh in compensation, to be paid jointly by the hospital and five of its doctors.

“It is worthwhile to remark here that the opposite parties, being a team of doctors, are dealing with human lives and not guinea pigs. The treating doctors, working in synergy, cannot use the patient as an “experimental site” without adhering to the standard line of medical treatment,” noted the Commission while holding the doctors guilty of medical negligence. It said that it was “implausible” how the spleen of the deceased patient was found to be of normal size in ultrasound reports when it was removed by doctors.

The commission pulled up the doctors for charging for a surgery which was “never performed”. “I lost my mother…money can’t change that. I wanted to bring out the truth…,” Advocate Anil Dutt Sharma, representing his father before the commission, told The Indian Express. “The doctors were fighting among themselves… they had told us six months prior to the surgery that it was not needed and could be dangerous for the patient… The doctors didn’t give us the medical reports that we had asked for…,” Anil said.

The Commission also held that the family was not given the spleen status and bone marrow reports on time by the doctors.

Festive offer

Sharma said his insurance claim was rejected because of the “negligence of some junior doctors”, adding that he is still fighting a criminal case against the doctors at Tis Hazari Courts.

Meanwhile, doctors from the hospital submitted that the complainant had made two complaints to the Medical Council of Delhi, which found no medical negligence in this case. Denying negligence, the doctors also submitted that they provided a standard level of care to the patient.