KATHMANDU, Feb 28: Ethical Committee of the Nepal Medical Council (NMC) has interrogated two doctors of Norvic International Hospital for carrying out surgery on a patient mistakenly on the right leg instead of the problematic left leg.
"We enquired with the doctors today [Tuesday] about the surgical blunder," said Dr Dhundi Raj Paudel, coordinator of the NMC Ethical Committee and senior vice president of the Nepal Medical Association. "We need to consult specialists to know how such a blunder happened," he added.
A three member team of surgeons including orthopedicians Dr Prabin Nepal and Dr Sailaj Ranjitkar of Norvic International Hospital had last week conducted surgery on the right leg of a patient admitted there for a torn left leg ligament. Bindu Paudel of Chitwan was admitted to the hospital on Friday upon suggestion from her relatives in Kathmandu. But the doctors conducted surgery of her right leg. Lab reports including medical resonance imaging (MRI) had clearly shown that she needed a ligament surgery in her left leg.
According to the NMC, the doctors explained, claiming that they carried out the surgery after they went through the operative procedure, which showed hole in the right foot. "We will come to a conclusion after further investigation and consultation with expert surgeons. We want to know how the mistake happened," said Dr Paudel.
The NMC on Sunday started investigation into the case although no one has yet lodged a complaint at the NMC against the doctors. "We ourselves called the doctors for interrogation though no one has filed complaint against them," said Dr Paudel. "As it is our responsibility to maintain discipline in medical practices."
However, the NMC is still undecided over what action to take against the doctors. "The NMC Act does not clearly explain the action for such mistakes by doctors though there is a provision of charging compensation from the wrongdoers," said Dr Paudel. "Their licenses also can be suspended for a certain period if they are found guilty."
After the incident, the doctors and Norvic representatives in an agreement signed with the relatives of the victim have admitted their mistake and promised to provide all necessary treatment to the victim free of cost.
Executive Director of the hospital Rajendra Bahadur Singh and doctors Prabin Nepal and Shailaj Ranjitkar acknowledged this in an agreement signed with the relatives of the victim -- Kishor Paudel, the husband of the victim and relatives Saroj Dahal and Thakur Prasad Wasti.
The hospital administration has also agreed to bear medical expenses even if the family prefers treatment abroad.
Bindu Paudel, 38, of Chitwan had come to Kathmandu after doctors in Chitwan referred her to go to the capital for the surgery. Paudel came to Kathmandu on Tuesday. She was injured when her scooter fell on her knee while parking the two-wheeler. Paudel had also repeatedly told the doctors that the problem was in her left knee, according to her family members. But the doctors mistakenly conducted surgery of her right leg.