Court declares doctor guilty as he fails to declare a patient’s HIV + status

  • Posted on: July 22, 2017

There are set rules and norms for declaring HIV+ patients. Healthcare community usually follow those by the letter. Here is an instance where a doctor did not do so and the court found laxity on his part as it slapped a hefty compensation.

Suspected to be suffering from TB and AIDS, Pramod visited his GP to confirm if he suffered from the ailments. The GP referred him to Dr. Singh who diagnosed the patient and declared negative status for HIV but positive for TB. Pramod’s GP prescribed medicines for TB based on the report from Dr. Singh. Not getting any relief from the treatment, Pramod visited PGIMS where he was declared positive for both, AIDS and TB. He rushed to Dr. Singh with this report but Dr. Singh again declared him to be HIV negative. Not satisfied by the doctor’s response, the patient visited a pathology lab where HIV positive was confirmed. The patient unfortunately died in few days even as he was running from pillar to post to get the correct status.

The patient’s family approached Haryana State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission seeking justice for their loved one and compensation from Dr. Singh for his apparent apathy in declaring the patient HIV positive. But Dr. Singh did not seem to be moved at all. He stated that he simply performed Assay Card Tests Non-Reactive for screening purpose only. This test could give a false positive or negative result. ELISA or PCR tests were required for 100% confirmation. He further stated that a patient cannot be termed seropositive on basis of the Card Test alone, hence there was no lapse on his part.

The Commission clearly saw it otherwise. It was observed that despite suspicion of HIV +, the doctor failed to determine the status with further tests. What’s more, he didn’t even recommend the patient to undergo those tests. While the Commission ruled the GP not negligent as he prescribed TB medicines based on the provided report, it found by Dr. Singh guilty of negligence for his apparent laxity in confirming patient with HIV virus.

Dr. Singh had to compensate for his lackadaisical approach towards a very serious ailment.

Source: Haryana State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission on 24th May, 2017.