Consumer court asks Usha Mullapudi hospital to pay Rs.3.90 lakh damages on patient’s death

The Telangana State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has directed Usha Mullapudi Cardiac Centre to refund Rs 3,20,000 it has charged from a patient, plus compensation and costs

Consumer court asks Usha Mullapudi hospital to pay Rs.3.90 lakh damages on patient’s death

HYDERABAD: The Telangana State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Hyderabad, has directed Usha Mullapudi Cardiac Centre to refund Rs 3,20,000 it has charged from a patient, plus Rs 50,000 as compensation and an additional Rs 20,000 as costs, for its failure to provide the service assured to the patient, eventually leading to his death.

The patient, Syed Habbu, aged 54, was a resident of Balanagar, Hyderabad. He was a petty businessman and the sole breadwinner of a huge joint family. On September 13, 2013, he was admitted to the Usha Mullapudi Cardiac Centre with severe breathlessness.

The hospital admitted him and conducted 2D echocardiogram-color doppler study tests under the supervision of Dr Ratnam V Mullapudi and diagnosed that he had blocks in his heart. Syed Habbu felt the same discomfort in December 2014 and he had undergone similar tests and was diagnosed with three blocks in the heart.

After a gap of 13 days the patient was subjected to a coronary angiogram and the results confirmed that he needed a bypass surgery. However, the patient wanted the surgery to be done by Dr Md Akhtar, a cardiac surgeon at the hospital. In the following year when the patient approached for the surgery, he was told that the particular doctor of his choice was not available. The patient, however, refused to undergo surgery under any other surgeon.

The family of the patient paid Rs 3,20,000 and on February 9, 2015, Syed Habbu underwent bypass surgery and was kept under observation. After a few hours, he was again taken to the operating theatre due to internal bleeding. On February 11, 2023, he was kept on a ventilator, following which the doctors conducted a tracheostomy procedure without informing the attendants.

Following that procedure, he vomited and some food particles lodged into the respiratory tract, choking the patient. The attendants also complained that the oxygen pipe got disconnected at this stage. They also complained that Dr Ratnam, who is also the owner of the hospital, was jealous of Dr Akhtar, and had not allowed him to conduct the bypass surgery. The patient died on March 22, 2015.

The family claimed that Syed Habbu died of the negligence of the staff and both the surgeons and also alleged that one Prasanth, a pharmacist at the hospital, was acting as a doctor in the hospital amounting to unfair trade practice.

However, the hospital refused all allegations and said that the assumption of professional jealousy between doctors was false. The hospital, while medically disapproving of all the complaints, said that the patient’s family had to pay Rs 13,50,000 for the damages caused to the hospital premises by the kin of the patient who, in a fit of rage, allegedly attacked the hospital staff and vandalised the premises following the death of Habbu.

The commission, after listening to both sides, said that the death of the patient could not be linked to any deficiency in service or alleged negligence. “However, forgetting to give an injection, not observing the detachment of the windpipe, the staff not properly responding to the queries of the attendants, not fully explaining the risks involved in the operation and performing tracheostomy without the consent were some of the factors which amount to deficiency in service” the commission observed.

It further observed that the doctors expressing a lack of control over the staff or pharmacist Prashanth could not be accepted. Hence the complaint was partly allowed. Delivering its order on February 28, 2023, the commission has set the time for compliance of its order at one month.

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