Issuing two bills is one mistake this hospital won’t ever make

  • Posted on: 06th May, 2021

The patient, an elderly gentleman, developed cataract in his right eye. He visited an eye hospital where it was successfully removed. Few days after the procedure, he once again visited the hospital with complain of vision problems. The doctor performed LASIK procedure and discharged the patient. However it did not bear desired result.

The patient sued the hospital on two counts. It was alleged that the doctor promised that his vision would be better after LASIK procedure. The second allegation was that hospital fudged the bill. They issued a bill showing IOL cost as INR 15,000 instead of INR 24,000 which was decided before the procedure. The remaining amount – INR 9,000 – was adjusted against other heads.

“They have used an inferior quality IOL and it has caused vision problems” claimed the visibly irate patient.

The Commission, at the outset, rejected patient’s claim of vision problems. It was observed that he was an elderly person, and cannot expect to have same vision as a young person does. The Commission saw merit in patient’s other claim and stated the following:

“Before admitting the patient, the hospital had informed that lens would cost INR 24,000, whereas INR 15,000 is mentioned in the first bill. They also issued another bill showing cost of lens as INR 24,000. Explanation from the hospital was that they were issued in good faith. This explanation cannot be accepted as the bills were liable to be used in legal proceeding. Issuing two different bills of different amounts for same transaction indicates that the hospital was involved in unfair trade practice”.

Perhaps it was an act of good faith, perhaps the hospital tried to cover its mistake. Whichever the reason, issuing two invoices for same service was ruled as negligence and the hospital was ordered to pay compensation.

Source: Order pronounced by Haryana Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, on 17th February, 2021.