Giving wrong investigation report, a case of negligence per se

  • Posted on: 5th May, 2022

This case dates back to the year 2014. The patient suffered from continuous coughing for two weeks. He visited a radiology centre where CT scan of his chest reported presence of lymph nodes. Upon the advice of his doctor, a PET scan was performed which reported stage IV cancer!

The patient was in a state of shock. Findings of cancer can shake even the strongest person.

Even after three sessions of chemotherapy, the patient did not get any relief. He then approached a reputed cancer institute in Mumbai. The doctors at this hospital opined that it was not possible to ascertain presence of cancer merely through PET scan.

Biopsy was done which confirmed that patient’s suffered from Tuberculosis (TB) rather than cancer. He was prescribed medicines and eventually recovered.

The patient was relieved to know he did not suffer from cancer. But was perhaps angry with the radiology centre and its radiologist doctor for giving wrong report. He sued them both.

The radiologist stated in defence that the patient was cured of cancer after chemo sessions, and TB was diagnosed subsequently.

The Commission rejected doctor’s defence, as it stated the following:

“The radiologist was deficient in making the report particularly so when the machine test was done and the machine could not have given the incorrect picture, rather a magnified picture i.e. tomography was displayed. Per se, it was the mistake on radiologist’s part in giving wrong report and putting patient in a situation of life and death”.

“It is not out of place to mention here that the patient was shifted to the cancer institute in Mumbai for further treatment, where doctors opined, on the basis of a minor test of bronchoscopy and PET-CT scan that presence of stage IV lung cancer could not have been diagnosed. As such, biopsy test was done and it was found to be a case of TB and after consumption of medicines for nine months now everything is normal”.

The scan centre and radiologist were held negligent and ordered to pay compensation to the patient.

Source:Order pronounced by Chandigarh State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission on 9th December, 2021.