Doctors asking for fees – No need for patients to feel offended, observes the court

  • Posted on: August 31, 2023

The patient had a history of cardiac ailments. She was feeling breathless and restless, and hence, was taken to a cardiologist. The doctor first performed angiography, and then angioplasty to remove the blockages.

After about six days of discharge, the patient complained of respiratory issues. She was taken to another hospital, where she unfortunately died.

Her family sued the cardiologist. It was alleged that the doctor was a junior cardiologist and he should have requested a senior cardiologist to handle patient’s care. It was also alleged that the doctor demanded forty thousand rupees in cash as payment to perform angiography and angioplasty.

The doctor rejected these allegations and pointed out to the fact that the patient and her family concealed medical history – he was not even informed about patient’s admission to another hospital three days prior to angiography. 

The Commission perused medical records, and made surprising revelations, as it observed the following:

“On careful perusal of medical records, it is evident that the patient was in extremely critical condition. After obtaining high risk consent, the doctor performed rescue angiography and primary angioplasty within two hours of hospitalization. Both these procedures gave excellent results”.

“Post-operatively, after discharge, when patient suffered breathlessness, the doctor informed patient’s relative to admit her to a hospital ten minutes away from their residence, but they waited for nearly four hours. The crucial hours of medical help were already lost”.

“It is pertinent to note that primary angioplasty is different as compared to routine angioplasty. It is performed as a life-saving procedure. These are extremely difficult situations and involve special treatment skills, for which the doctor charged forty thousand rupees for his expertise, and also issued a receipt. In my view, nothing was wrong or illegal about charging his professional fees, since same will not be reimbursed by the Mediclaim”.

Calling out patient’s family for contributory negligence, the Commission dismissed their complains and case against the cardiologist.

Source : Order pronounced by National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission on 6th June, 2023.