Radiologist plays pathologist at his own cost

  • Posted on: September 12, 2017

It is unclear why some medical practitioners would perform tests or provide treatment beyond their medical and legal capabilities. While the reason for such a conduct is best known to the practitioners, it is abundantly clear what the courts think about these mistakes.

Suffering from abdominal pain, the patient visited Dr. Sanyal – a radiologist – for a CT scan. The doctor performed the scan and also conducted FNAC which was required to diagnose the reason behind patient’s ailment.

Clearly, Dr. Sanyal was not medically competent to perform the FNAC. The patient developed large parietal abscess at the site of FNAC and had to undergo a surgery. It was obvious to the patient that improper FNAC performed by Dr. Sanyal was the cause of his prolonged ailment. He approached the State Disputes Consumer Redressal Commission, West Bengal to present this case. It was alleged that the development of acute pain and parietal abscess after FNAC proved that Dr. Sanyal performed the procedure in an incompetent manner. It was also alleged that the FNAC report was signed by a pathologist whereas Dr. Sanyal, who was a radiologist, had performed the test. This, the patient concluded, clearly established Dr, Sanyal’s incompetence in performing the test.

The doctor on the other hand seemed to be playing naïve. It was stated that the parietal abscess occurred almost two months after the FNAC and hence it could not be said that it was performed wrongly. It was further stated, albeit defiantly, that the doctor being a radiologist was competent to perform FNAC – he had been doing that successfully for years!

What a shocker, the Commission may have thought as it delivered the ruling. It was observed that the standard of protocol requires a cytopathologist to perform the FNAC. Dr. Sanyal was a radiologist and hence, was not competent. The Commission further observed that the parietal abscess developed at the site of FNAC and stated that “defect in the process of FNAC cannot be ruled out”. The radiologist was ordered to compensate the patient.

Source: Order pronounced by State Disputes Consumer Redressal Commission, West Bengal on 12th September, 2017.