Law gives hospital taste of its own medicine

  • Posted on: 1st February, 2017
  • Categories: Uncategorized

Wrong diagnosis. Wrong treatment. Wrong reporting. Irrespective of their honesty and sincerity, medical practitioners can’t get away from law if they don’t follow due diligence or don’t practice the acceptable standard of care.

Suffering from recurrent fever and chills for over a year, Lalith visited St. Stephens Hospital where an ultrasound was performed and reported possibility of kidney stone and Urinary Tract Infection (UTI). Surprisingly though, the report also contained details of female organs, and medicines were prescribed according to the report. The patient was discharged after a fortnight of such treatment, and obviously his condition did not improve. He started having bouts of fever again and visited another doctor who advised another ultrasound. Thankfully for Lalith, the right diagnosis of UTI with kidney stone was made. He went to an Ayurvedic doctor and was cured of his prolonged ailment.

Lalith was very bitter because of the way he was treated at St. Stephens Hospital and wanted to give the administration and doctors a taste of their own medicine. He approached the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, New Delhi and presented his case. It was alleged that the ultrasound report had details of Uterus Adbnexa, Overy and Pouch of Douglas, evidently female organs, and subsequently was given wrong medicines based on the wrong report. This further caused high fever and uneasiness. It was further alleged that the doctors neither performed another ultrasound nor tried to find exact cause of UTI. They simply kept on changing the diagnosis and medicine. Even at the time of discharge, no pathological tests were performed to confirm a full recovery. All these facts amount to negligence, claimed Lalith and demanded a refund and compensation.

The hospital and doctors knew they had erred. But they did not want to be held accountable. Their defense was as wrong as their diagnosis and treatment. It was stated that medicine is an inexact science and 100% cure can never be guaranteed. It was further stated that the typist mistakenly entered incorrect details in patient’s report, but that error did not cause any harm. A pathological test was not advised at the time of patient’s discharge as he did not have fever. Moreover, subsequent ultrasound reports are erroneous. We are not guilty of any negligence, was the final statement made.

The Commission had ample of records to see through the false claims made by the hospital. It was observed that the doctor had signed the incorrect report and hence, he cannot hide behind the typographical mistake. Moreover, why a fresh ultrasound was not performed when the typographical error came to light, questioned the Commission. It was further observed that the claim of subsequent ultrasound reports being erroneous was not true as the patient was successfully cured based on the diagnosis of those reports.

The Commission held the hospital and doctors guilty of negligence ordered them to refund the fees and slapped a fine as well. Justice served for the deserved.

Source: Order pronounced by Kerala State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission,New Delhi on 1st February, 2017