Consumer Court directs Doctor to pay ₹5 lakh compensation for botched surgery after 10 years

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The Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission has directed a gynecologist to pay Rs. 5 lakhs as compensation to the children of a woman who died in 2009 due to a failed abortion and tubectomy surgery. The complaint was filed in October 2010 in the Nalgonda consumer forum.

Kotla Nikhil was three and Kotla Damodhar was two years old when their mother Suneetha went to the Primary Health Center in Kanagal in Nalgonda district in August 2009 for a tubectomy operation. Dr. Sabavath Dashya Naik conducted the surgery on the same day and issued a certificate to that effect.

After the surgery Suneetha, her husband Yadaiah, and their children came to Hyderabad where Suneetha visited a local gynecologist for a medical check-up. She found out that she was pregnant. In October 2009 she went to Dr. Naik’s private nursing home, Sri Sai Nursing Home, in Kanagal where he conducted the surgery to terminate her pregnancy.

After the abortion, Suneetha began suffering severe pains and the doctor treated her for a week. He received an amount of Rs. 10,000 as hospital charges. Suneetha’s condition did not improve and she continued to experience severe pains. The doctors then advised her to get admitted to the Government Head Quarters Hospital, Nalgonda, for further treatment.

There the doctors found that she had intestinal and uterine perforation. Suneetha was advised to get admitted to Osmania General Hospital (OGH) in Hyderabad. However, she was taken to Kamineni Hospital in the city instead. The Kamineni Hospital estimated the treatment would cost Rs. 4 lakhs. Since the woman’s family was unable to pay the sum, Suneetha was admitted to OGH. She died on 11 November 2009 while she was undergoing treatment at OGH.

The family alleged that they had approached Dr. Sabavath Dashya Naik seeking compensation in 2010 but he had refused to pay. A legal notice was issued to the doctor but he issued a vague reply.

Dr. Naik filed a written reply denying all the allegations. “I have no knowledge that the deceased Suneetha was present on the day of the operation at PHC, Kanagal. But, in the due course of performing my official duties, I undertook family planning operations at the camp and issued certificates to the persons who had undergone the same,” the doctor said in his written reply.

He also said that before the family planning operation, Suneetha was tested for pregnancy using the strip method and the test had come out negative. After the operation, she was discharged from the hospital and Suneetha never consulted him for any problems, he added.

After examining the documents and evidence, the commission said, “Dr. Sabavath Dashya Naik in his chief examination admitted that he conducted tubectomy operation on Suneetha at the Primary Health Centre. Though the family has not filed any record to show that the deceased had an abortion at the private clinic owned by Dr. Naik, Sri Sai Nursing Home in Kanagal, he admitted that he conducted tubectomy as well as an operation to terminate her pregnancy.”

The commission further added that Suneetha had suffered from multiple problems after the tubectomy operation and she had to terminate her pregnancy after the opposite party failed to detect her pregnancy for three months. “All the documents and the evidence prove to show that there is clear medical negligence by the opposite party in not taking proper care and correctly diagnosing her pregnancy before conducting the tubectomy operation and terminating her pregnancy which led to the untimely death of Suneetha,” said the commission.

The commission directed the doctor and the nursing home to pay Rs. 5 lakhs as compensation to Suneetha’s children with interest at 9 per cent per annum from the date of filing of the complaint till its realization and Rs. 10,000 towards medical charges and Rs. 10,000 towards costs of litigation.

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