Proper record-keeping – Hospital’s remedy against baseless allegations

  • Posted on: January 04, 2017

Some patients perhaps have so much of mistrust and doubts on the medical fraternity that without a good reason, they drag the doctors and hospitals to the court of law. This story is a good example of such lack of trust.

Raju was admitted to Lifeline Hospital as he was suffering from fever and his platelet count had dropped considerably. After performing the serology test and an ultrasound, Raju was diagnosed with Dengue, and the hospital began treating him for same. Raju’s condition improved quickly and felt quite well. In his fifth day at the hospital, Raju thought he was fully cured and asked the doctor for a discharge. The doctor, going by his own experience and acumen, decided against it – it was dengue after all! That was it for Raju. He sought discharge against medical advice and quickly rushed to New Delhi State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, making really baseless allegations.

Raju alleged that the hospital kept him admitted only to usurp money – he was cured well within 5 days of his stay at the hospital. He added that the doctors there wanted to keep him admitted for more time. He also alleged that a pathology centre that he visited the next day after being discharged, reported his platelet count as 17000/CUMM. Whereas, the hospital had transfused three units of blood with platelets only and an additional jumbo unit of blood to increase the platelet count. What happened to that? Why was the platelet count not increased? The hospital cheated me, exhorted Raju!

The hospital was quite shocked by these allegations. However, it had all the necessary documentation – medical records, case papers, etc. – required for a solid defence. The hospital rightly countered that the patient could not be discharged simply because he thought he was feeling well. And the day when he sought discharge against medical advice, the platelet count was 65000/CUMM. Where is the report which the patient is using to allege us, questioned the hospital authorities.

The Commission too made a similar observation. It was stated that the patient did not complain that the serology test and the ultrasound reports were wrong or fabricated by the hospital. The Commission further observed that the patient was treated as per medical protocol set for treatment of dengue. Moreover, the ultrasound reported free fluid in peritoneal of pleural cavity, which was a clear indication of dengue. “By no stretch of imagination, it can be said that the patient was not suffering from dengue”, concluded the court and dismissed the complaint.

Diligence in record-keeping once again benefited a hospital and saved it from silly allegations!

Source: Order pronounced by New Delhi State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission on 24th October, 2016