Practicing Super-speciality without recognized PG qualification constitutes medical negligence: Maha Consumer Forum
Panvel: Holding that not maintaining proper record of treatment and practicing super-specialty in dentistry without a recognized postgraduate qualification constitutes medical negligence under the Consumer Protection Act, Maharashtra Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has dismissed a petition moved by a dentist, while directing her to pay Rs 10000 as compensation to the patient.
This came after the dentist residing in Panvel moved the state commission, challenging an order of the Alibaug District Forum's that directed her to pay Rs. 2 lakhs compensation to her patient in a medical negligence case.
The case concerned a patient, who consulted the dentist for correction of his deformed teeth and for gaps in the teeth. According to the advice, the treatment started from 26th September 2013 onwards. The total agreed-upon consideration for the treatment was Rs.25,000/- out of which the complainant paid Rs.19,050/- till 28th February 2014.
However, unhappy with the treatment, the patient consulted at KBH Dental College and Hospital, Nashik. When he went to other dentists as he was experiencing pain in teeth and jaw after her treatment. He was informed that the expected correction in teeth did not happen and it was difficult to achieve midline alignment.
Aggrieved, the patient moved the Alibugh District Forum alleging negligence and deficiency in service and sought Rs 20 lakh compensation. The forum upheld his plea and directed the doctor to pay Rs. 2 lakhs to her patient for treatment expenditure, mental and physical harassment in a medical negligence case.
Challenging the order, the dentist approached the Commission. Her Advocate contended that the state commission that the district forum had not heard her while passing the order and she had not received any notice from it. He further added that the patient had attended only seven months of the one-and-a-half year treatment. The dentist had completed a one-year advanced course in clinical Orthodontics, he told the commission, making her competent to treat the patient, he added.
Responding to the contentions, the patient argued that while the dentist claims to specialize in orthodontics, her certificate course is not recognized by the Dental Council of India (DCI). He further added that her treatment papers do not contain details of the treatment planned or its progress.
"The treatment papers from Dr Devikar consist of papers, pages 26 to 30, which include payment receipts and there are no details of the treatment planned and the progress of the treatment," he submitted.
Regarding her not receiving notice from the district forum, he informed the commission that she had been intimated by the postman about the registered summons but she did not collect it.
After hearing the contentions, the Commission observed;
"The appellant has not maintained a proper record of treatment, there is no record of the information given to the patient, and his acceptance signed in the form of Informed Consent."
President Justice AP Bhangale and member SK Kakade further stated in their order that the certificate issued by the Academy of Advanced Dental Studies mentioning that the dentist has completed a one-year hands-on training program in Clinical Orthodontics cannot be accepted as the email reply of Secretary of Dental Council of India says this program was not recognized by it.
The court noted;
"We are of the opinion that practicing super-specialty in dentistry i.e Orthodontics without formal, recognized postgraduate qualification in Orthodontics is considered as medical negligence by a dental professional. Additionally not maintaining proper treatment records as prescribed in the Code of Dental Ethics to be considered as medical negligence by a dental professional under the Consumer Protection Act.'
The state commission upheld the decision of the district forum and dismissed the dentist's plea while directing it to pay Rs 10000 to the patient.
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