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National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission upholds a compensation of Rs.13.77 lakhs after nuts and bolts found in a woman’s abdomen after 12 years of surgery.

Clinic Nallam and Anr. vs A Helen Victoria and Anr.


Clinic Nallam and Anr. vs A Helen Victoria and Anr.

The Complainant had undergone an abdominal hysterectomy at the M/s Clinic Nallam. The surgery was performed by Dr. V. Nallam, Appellant No. 1 assisted by Dr. Sreeramamurthy Appellant No. 2. Post-surgery, the Complainant faced various health issues, leading to her admission to the Intensive Care Unit in July 1991. Subsequently, she experienced prolonged health complications, including severe headaches, stomachaches, and urinary tract infections. The Complainant sought medical help from various doctors over the years, and in 2003, a foreign object (Nut and Bolt) was discovered in her abdomen, allegedly left behind during the initial surgery performed at the Clinic.

The National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission has upheld a compensation of Rs.13.77 lakhs to the Complainant who had filed a consumer complaint before the State Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission which partially allowed the complaint, directing the Clinic and the doctor to pay compensation for medical treatment, engagement of household help, pain and suffering, and costs. 

Resultantly, the clinic and the doctor filed an appeal to the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission against the order of the State Commission. The Counsel for the Appellants argued on lapse of period of limitation and lack of evidence. He argued that the Complainant was aware of the presence of the alleged foreign object in 1997. Thus, the limitation period started from that point and the same was ignored. 

As regards lack of evidence, he argued that the State Commission decided without proper consideration of evidence and highlighted that the son of the Complainant, who testified, had no personal knowledge of his mother's admission to the Appellants' clinic. As regards the liability of Dr. Sreeramamurthy, Appellant No. 2 in his reply vehemently denied all allegations stating that he had no knowledge of the surgery in question. He asserted that he was not employed by OP-1 & 2 and was, in fact, in Government service during that period. He produced service records from 06.02.1980 to 30.09.2013 in support. 

The National commission observed thus:

The Complainant produced documentary evidence for the first operation by OP-2 with the assistance of OP-3 and, after her discharge she was readmitted on 17.07.1991 in the same clinic for continued treatment and discharged on the same day. While the OPs contended that these documents are fabricated for the purpose of this case and disowned the same, however, they neither raised any objection in marking these documents on the side of the Complainant nor filed any document on their side pertaining to the period under dispute, to confront her claim. Thus, it is an established fact that the hysterectomy (uterus removal) was performed on 24.06.1991 in OP-1 clinic by OP-2. Thereafter, she suffered several medical complications as discussed above and finally when an ultrasound scanning was done, a foreign object i.e. bolt and nut were found in her stomach in November 2003.
The complainant contacted several doctors and took treatment externally after the first operation. She produced prescriptions of her treatment for about 12 years preceding the second operation on 10.12.2003. This indicates the unbearable pain, suffering and hardship she had undergone and the sleepless nights and inability she faced in performing her day-to-today routine work as house-wife to render valuable service to her husband and her children. In addition, she suffered financial loss during the relevant period. While the complainant did not produce any documents in respect of financial losses caused to her towards her treatment for 12 years and other losses due to erroneous and negligent operation performed by the OPs, she deserves to be appropriately compensated. Further, she was in distress and suffering due to the deficiency and negligence. The compensation for the same was appropriately determined by the learned State Commission.


Clinic Nallam and Anr. vs A Helen Victoria and Anr.

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