Expressing unconfirmed suspicion? Exercise caution!

  • Posted on: February 06, 2020

Confirming suspicions that are not backed by diagnostic procedures could prove to be problem for doctors and hospitals. However, this is a case where a hospital shared an unconfirmed suspicion and found itself tangled in a case of medical negligence.

Darshani suffered from sore throat with some pain and difficulty in swallowing food, hence visited the hospital where she was advised Fine Needle Aspiration Cytology (FNAC) test that reported ‘Thyroid Gland Benign Aspirate’. She was prescribed some medicines but did not get any relief.

Another FNAC test was conducted after about three months which reported ‘follicular lesion in left lobe’. A doctor at the hospital suspected cancerous growth and shared this unconfirmed suspicion with the patient. A surgery was performed, but to no avail.

The patient seemed to have lost faith in the treatment provided by the hospital and hence, visited another hospital here FNAC test was performed once again. The third test reported follicular adenoma, not cancer.

While Darshani may have breathed a sigh of relief, she also seemed to be furious as she sued the hospital for providing wrong report.

The Commission observed that the doctor at first hospital did not confirm the diagnosis of cancer, but merely expressed her suspicion – a fact which was recorded in medical records. This, the Commission conclusively observed, did not mean that the doctor or the hospital certified cancerous growth.

Source: Order pronounced by Chandigarh State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Chandigarh on 22nd October, 2019.