In the second largest settlement in the history of the consumer court, two doctors of the Punjab Medical Centre agreed to pay a petitioner Rs1 million to settle a suit on Monday.
Petitioner Farzana Saleem had sued Dr Fakharunnisa and her daughter Dr Aisha Malik for Rs50 million for allegedly botching three operations and removing her ovary and part of her large intestine when all she needed was removal of a cyst.
The doctors agreed to pay the petitioner Rs1 million “on humanitarian grounds, in good faith and without admission of any liability” in exchange for the withdrawal of the suit. The petitioner had also sued a third doctor, Dr Muneer Imran. The court will continue hearing the suit against him on May 17.
A source in the consumer court’s administration said that this had been the largest settlement in the court’s history since 2009, when a case was settled for Rs1.8 million. The consumer court was set up in 2007.
Saleem had said in the petition that she had gone to the Punjab Medical Centre last year and met with Dr Fakharunnisa, who had recommended that she undergo surgery to remove the cyst from her left ovary. She also recommended that her daughter Dr Aisha Malik do the surgery.
Saleem said that she was operated upon on December 24, 2010.
Dr Malik told her husband that the operation had been successful and that the patient’s left ovary had been removed. Her husband, she said, was shocked as the doctors hadn’t told them that they would be removing her ovary.
She said that she returned home on December 25 but felt severe pain in her abdomen. She said when her husband contacted the doctors, they told him that the post-surgery pain was normal. But her situation got worse and she was taken to Akhtar Saeed Trust Hospital on December 27, where doctors recommended that she be taken back to the hospital where she was operated on because her condition was critical.
She said she was again operated on at the Punjab Medical Centre on January 5, this time by surgeon Dr Muneer Imran. She said her condition deteriorated further on January 8, when fluid began leaking from her surgical wounds.
She was finally taken to Shaikh Zayed Hospital on January 12 and operated on for a third time, when doctors found a 3-4cm perforation in the wall of the recto-sygmoid junction, which resulted in a leakage of material from her intestines into her pelvic area. Doctors kept the abdomen cavity open till January 21 and she was operated on again on January 21. She was eventually discharged from the hospital on February 21, she said.
The petitioner’s counsel Advocate Monim Sultan asked the court to direct the respondents to pay Rs50 million in damages for mental torture and defective services.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 1st, 2012.