Proof of medical negligence by Doctor

Gall bladder surgery:

Initially Doctor proceeded to perform the laparoscopy surgery of the Gall Bladder of respondent No.1 as advised but while so performing he noticed some inflammation, adhesion and swelling on the Gall Bladder and, therefore, decided to perform the conventional surgery, which he actually did on respondent No.1, to remove the Gall Bladder.

Allegations that even the surgery performed was not successful inasmuch as respondent No.1 thereafter suffered for several days with various ailments, such as dysentery, loss of appetite, reduction of weight, jaundice etc., Thirdly, in June 1997, she was, therefore, required to undergo another Surgery in Ganga Ram Hospital, Delhi for removal of stones which had slipped in Common Bile Duct. It was alleged that all these ailments were incurred due to the negligence of the appellant, who did not perform the surgery properly.

Proof of Negligence:

There has to be a direct nexus with these two factors to sue a doctor for his negligence. Suffering of ailment by the patient after surgery is one thing. It may be due to myriad reasons known in medical jurisprudence. Whereas suffering of any such ailment as a result of improper performance of the surgery and that too with the degree of negligence on the part of Doctor is another thing. To prove the case of negligence of a doctor, the medical evidence of experts in field to prove the latter is required. Simply proving the former is not sufficient.

In our view, respondent No.1 was under legal obligation to prove a specific kind of negligence on the part of the appellant in performing the surgery and also was required to prove that any subsequent ailment which she suffered on her return to home such as, jaundice, dysentery, fever, loss of weight etc. were suffered by her only due to improper performance of conventional surgery by the appellant and if the surgery had been successful, she would not have suffered any kind of these ailments.

[Source: Dr. S.K.Jhunjhunwala vs Mrs. Dhanwanti Kumar decided by SC on 1 October, 2018]
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