Is recurrence of kidney stone 2 years after surgical removal negligence? Court says no

December 21, 2023

Recurrence of an ailment / condition is an accepted by medical science and also by the courts. Law does not hold doctors / hospitals accountable for relapse as long as the healthcare providers follow due diligence.  

Irrefutable Facts

A patient underwent surgery for kidney stone removal.

About two years later the patient consulted another doctor, a USG was performed which revealed presence of a kidney stone.

The patient sued the first doctor who had performed the surgery. It was alleged that he did not remove kidney stones during the surgery

Doctor’s Plea

The doctor pointed out that renal stone could recur at a faster rate due to metabolic factors and / or due to patient’s carelessness.  

Court’s Observations

The court perused medical text and accepted doctor’s defence, observing that: “There is no full-proof ideology that no stone shall be developed in the kidney after removal of the first stone”.

The court further observed that the period of two years was enough for recurrence, and patients’ habits could also be a contributing factor.

The case against doctor was dismissed.

Prevention Is Better Than Cure

Courts accept that complaints of patient may recur despite intervention. The patient should be made aware of this fact at the outset, especially if the possibility of recurrence is high.

Appropriate advice and precautions to minimize recurrence should be specifically given at the time of discharge. The possibility of recurrence should be specifically noted in the consent as well as the discharge certificate / summary.

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Source : 15 MLCD (j169) Dr. H. S. Tiwari v/s Nankau