Health council clears emergency medical team

Medical: A reasonable standard of medical procedures were followed while providing treatment to a three-year-old boy on May 21, the Bhutan Medical and Health Council (BMHC) registrar, Sonam Dorji said.

This is as per the findings of the council’s investigation carried out after the deceased’s father, Dorji Rinchen, 36, had written to the BMHC requesting a review of the emergency medical service provided to his late son.

Dorji Rinchen alleges negligence on the part of the surgery team claiming that most of the health practitioners appeared to be young trainees and also questioned the medical treatment provided to his late son.  He claims that inefficient procedures were followed during the treatment.

Sonam Dorji said that the council thoroughly investigated the case. “We checked all the Operation Theatre (OT) lists and got statements from all the health staff on duty that day.”

He said that a vascular surgeon did the boy’s surgery and the resident doctors who are full-fledged doctors currently doing their masters with the referral hospital assisted the surgeon and observed the case.

The surgeons went for the second surgery after 10pm on May 22, after the boy’s limb began turning blue, as a result of an unjoined blood vessel.

Realising the emergency, the second operation was carried out, Sonam Dorji said. “Doctors did the operation in good faith. Sometimes complications occur and this it one unfortunate case.”

According to the investigation, after the second surgery, the resident doctors called the specialist after noticing some complications in the patient. The specialist, over the phone, directed the resident doctors on what to do.

Normally, resident doctors follow up on the operated patients and the surgeon is called only if they are required to see the patient.

“Even if the surgeon was physically there, he would do what he had directed the resident doctors to do,” Sonam Dorji said.

He said that all evidences prove that a reasonable standard of medical procedure was followed. “There was nothing wrong in terms of treatment procedure.”

Had it not been the surgeon that operated on the patient or if the surgeon did the surgery on the wrong place then the council would take necessary actions, he said.

Sonam Dorji said that there would be arguments even among the doctors. “Some may be of the opinion that if the limb was amputated then the boy could have lived,” he said. “But the result will be known only if his limb was amputated.”

Sonam Dorji explained that the surgery team tried their best to save the boy’s limb. The boy was just three years old and if his limb was amputated then the boy would have had to live more than 60 years with a prosthetic leg, he added.

Another a discussion was carried out, the professional ethics committee recommended the council to gather more information and further investigate the case.

“We did a thorough investigation and found that there was no negligence at all,” Sonam Dorji said. As a concerned citizen, we appreciate the complainant’s request to investigate the case.

Dorji Rinchen had sent copies of the letter to concerned officials and the media. He said that he is yet to hear from the council.

“Without knowing how the investigation is done, I cannot say anything on the findings of the investigation,” Dorji Rinchen said. “I expect to hear from the council soon.”

Dechen Tshomo

1 reply
  1. irfan
    irfan says:

    “Had it not been the surgeon that operated on the patient or if the surgeon did the surgery on the wrong place then the council would have taken necessary actions”, the Registrar of BMHC says.

    And the point mentioned above clears all the doubts. Every such team of surgeons and doctors are expected to perform each and every operation in total good faith. No such team ever wants a taste of failure in what they want to achive in an Operation Theatre. But the unfortunate thing is that accidents just happen, no one makes them happen.

    But as human we have emotions and, as relatives and attendants of a patient receiving emergency treatment; it’s natural that we get emotional and suspect unnecessary things whenever the results are not in our favour. It’s a good gesture that BMHC had respected the request made by Dorji Rinchen, the father of the deceased in this case. And Dorji Rinchen and rest of us may probably have to respect the enquiry carried out by the council. They are the better judge of a medical and surgery procedures.

    If it’s possible to consult an expert over phone regarding a surgery, it’s probably also possible that we can have technology in our OTs where a video call is also possible with the same expert receiving better information live. Even video recording inside an OT can be made a legally approved possibility.

    If the legality part of such recording is the issue anyway, there can be special legislation in place to make things happen legally. Only if there are better legalities in place, an enquiry like this may happen at a different legal level in future. Every medical operation can’t be a hundred percent success and we truly understand that while giving the consent. And still, there will be cases like these where the council will receive such requests. There should be a legal framework in place for the council to answer as no one wants the see the service delivery getting affected in the medical and health sector.

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