Medical devices can be advanced, but not always correct

  • Posted on: December 28, 2023

The patient experienced sharp abdominal pain. USG was performed; it reported stone in left kidney. The pain did not subside despite medications. He approached a hospital where another USG was performed – it reported no stones in the kidney.

The pain, however, kept on lingering.

Third USG was performed at another hospital which reported presence of stone in the kidney.

Evidently, the patient was irked with both – the second hospital’s radiologist and with the pain. He filed a complaint with State Consumer Commission who observed that the first and third USGs reported presence of stone whereas second USG performed by the radiologist did not. Hence, he was held negligent.

The radiologist challenged this order and approached National Consumer Commission.

The top consumer court observed that:

“The radiologist is a qualified MD - Radiology and has extensive experience in performing USG of abdomen. There are certain limitations in USG. Sometimes the renal calculi are not visible due to intestinal gas shadows in the abdomen, sometimes stones even pass out through urine. Even the best of radiologists cannot be better than the machine used for USG; they cannot improve on the technical soundness or advancement of the machine available at command. The more advanced a machine, the more precise is its report”.

Evidently, even advanced diagnostic equipment has its limitations and this is the ground on which the case against radiologist was dismissed. 

Source : Order pronounced by National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission on 16th February, 2023.