Quoting fine print, not fine!

  • Posted on: June 16, 2022

The patient suffered from chronic kidney ailments and opted for kidney transplantation. His loving wife happily volunteered to donate her kidney.

She visited a pathology laboratory (path. lab.) to ascertain her blood group; which was reported O +ve. The doctors gave a green signal for kidney donation based on this finding.

During pre-transplantation tests though, wife’s blood group was checked again at the hospital which reported B +ve! Needless to say, the couple were at a loss of words and disheartened. Patient’s kidney transplantation was cancelled.

The path. lab. and its pathologist were sued, and evidently, were at the receiving end of an angry wife’s fury.

In defence it was stated that several tests, including confirmation of blood group of the donor and recipient are conducted before any transplantation. The patient was not harmed in any way due to the error in reporting blood group.

Quoting fine print on the report, It was further stated that the reports issued by the path. lab. always ‘carried a warning about technical limitations despite taking standard care and caution’!

The Commission rejected these pleas and stated:

“The argument that there was no harm caused to patient, since only on the basis of the report transplantation could not have taken place lacks merit, given the fact that it has been long settled that whether harm came to the patient or not would not be a criteria. It is the failure on part of the path. lab. to take due care to return a correct finding, that is at the heart of issue and in which it completely failed”.

Source: Order pronounced by Delhi State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission on 21st December, 2021.