Transfusion of wrong blood leads to death, doc to pay Rs 5.38L

A Kolkata-based doctor has been directed by the apex consumer commission to pay Rs 5.38 lakh to the son of a patient who died after he was given transfusion of a wrong blood type during surgery 12 years ago.

The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) gave the direction while dismissing the doctor's appeal against the decision of the West Bengal State Consumer Commission which had held him guilty of medical negligence for "accepting and transfusing a blood group" which was different from that of the patient.

It noted that the patient's blood group was A+, while he was given B+ blood.

The state commission had directed Dr Sunil Thakur to pay Rs 5.28 lakh as compensation and Rs 10,000 as cost to the patient's son.

The NCDRC while upholding the state commission's decision observed that the blood specimen sent to the blood bank by Dr Thakur did not match that of the patient due to which a different blood group was given to him leading to "serious complications", relating to his liver and kidney functions, "which contributed to his death".

"Keeping in view the facts in this case, .... we agree with the finding of the state commission that the appellant (Dr Thakur) was guilty of medical negligence and uphold the same. This first appeal having no merit is dismissed.

"Appellant is directed to comply with the order passed by the state commission and pay the awarded amount of Rs 5,38,000 (i.e. Rs 5,28,000 as compensation and Rs 10,000 as cost) to respondent 1 (deceased's son)," the bench presided by Justice Ashok Bhan said.

The NCDRC also dismissed as "unacceptable" the doctor's contention that he was not responsible for arranging the blood saying "he had admittedly signed the requisition slip sent to the blood bank enclosing with it a wrong specimen of blood".

The state commission's order had come on the plea of Gorachand Goswami whose father Manick Lal Goswami had been admitted to the nursing home in West Bengal where Dr Thakur worked as a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon.

Gorachand in his complaint had alleged that his father was admitted in the nursing home for undergoing surgery for a fractured femur on the instructions of the doctor.

He had also alleged that soon after the blood transfusion, his father had started frothing from the mouth and complained of difficulty in breathing and began shivering.

The patient was then shifted to the Calcutta Medical Research Institute (CMRI), where he underwent dialysis, but his condition deteriorated and despite being put on a ventilator he passed away on December 1, 2000.

As per the death certificate issued by CMRI, one of causes of death was attributed to the "history of mismatched blood transfusion", Gorachand had said in his plea.

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