Dent in hospital’s coffers for not providing medical records

  • Posted on: November 12, 2020

In this day and age, for some unknown and surprising reasons, lack of proper information on preserving and providing medical records remains to be one of the leading causes of negligence. A hospital recently was added to this avoidable statistic.

The patient was taken to hospital in a serious condition. He was diagnosed with perianal abscess, diffused abdominal tenderness, acute respiratory distress syndrome, peritonitis and septicaemia. After initial conservative management, laparotomy was performed to drain the abscess.

The doctors tried their best but patient’s condition did not improve. After twelve days, the patient was referred to another hospital, but due to unavailability of ventilators he was shifted to yet another hospital. Unfortunately, the patient died at this hospital after a few days.

Deepali, patient’s wife, sued the hospital and alleged that they performed surgery for appendicitis whereas it was not needed. She also claimed that the doctors missed diagnosis of ischiorectal abscess and treated the patient wrongly.

The Commission gave the bereaving wife a patient hearing, but knew that her allegations were without any substance.

It was observed that the patient was a chronic alcoholic and his vitals were feeble. An informed consent was taken from patient’s wife after proper explaining her about his condition, line of treatment and possible adverse outcomes. But, the hospital had committed a grave mistake.

The Commission observed that the patient’s wife was merely given a referral slip at the time of discharge, whereas she ought to have been given complete medical records. Even after one and half years of litigation, the hospital did not provide medical records. The Commission observed that while the doctors of the hospital consulted doctors of the referred hospital, not handing over medical records was against the law.

Despite best efforts of its doctors, the hospital paid ten lakh rupees compensation for an easily avoidable act.

Source: Order pronounced by National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, New Delhi on 2nd July, 2020.