Congenital anomalies are defined as structural or functional anomalies that occur during intrauterine life. The Commission held that by failing to diagnose the defects at an early stage, the ultrasonology centre also failed to offer termination of pregnancy. The newborn had agenesis (complete absence) of fingers, right leg below knee and left foot below ankle joint.
The clinic — Imaging Point — was being run by radiologist Dr Dilip Ghike in Nagpur. Holding him and his clinic responsible for their failure to detect structural anomalies of the foetus at 17-18 weeks, the two-member bench of NCDRC comprising Justice R K Agrawal and S M Kantikar has asked them to pay the compensation for the child’s welfare, future expenses for treatment and purchase of limb prostheses.
The order said, “The amount shall be kept in the form of fixed deposit in any nationalised bank (preferably SBI) in the name of the child till he attains majority. The parents can draw periodic interest on the FD for the regular health check-up, treatment and welfare of their child.” It also directed the radiologist and his clinic to pay Rs 1 lakh towards the legal expenses.
As per the commission’s order, in October 2006, the child’s mother, who was pregnant at that time, consulted one gynecologist and obstetrician. The next month the doctor referred the patient to Imaging Point for ultrasonography of pelvis. The USG was done by Ghike and reported as normal. Three more ultrasounds were done by the ultrasound scanning centre. All the USG were reported as “no obvious congenital anomalies in the fetal head abdomen and spine”.
But when the gynecologist conducted the elective cesarean section and after the birth of the child, the mother and all the attendants were shocked to see the “grossly-malformed male newborn.” The child’s parents had alleged that all of this had happened due to the radiologist who had done ultrasounds in a negligent manner.
They had prayed for Rs 10 crore compensation for meeting future expenses. But the radiologist denied any negligence in the reports of the USGs of the patient.