Dismissed: Rs 30 Lakh Complaint against doctors alleging wrong diagnosis with intent to extract money
A compliant for Rs.30 lakhs alleging that the Doctors intention were to extract money and Breast surgery was on wrong diagnosis of Cancer, dismissed in toto. The decision was passed by the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission with Case details as :
BIMLA DEVI V/s. DR. AJAY AGGARWAL HARYANA & Ors,
JUDGEMENT LINK :
Facts in Short :
1. The Complainant late Smt. Bimala Devi approached National Commission against the order passed by Haryana State Consumer Commission,whereby the complaint of the complainant was dismissed.
2. The patient initially consulted Dr. Kaushal Goyal of Rewari for swelling in her left breast., Who referred her to Pathologist for Fine Needle Aspirations Cytology (FNAC). The FNAC was performed by Pathologist-Dr. Gajendra Yadav it was diagnosed as cancer of the left breast.
3. Thereafter, it's the allegation of the complainant that she the along with her husband contacted one Dr. Ajay Aggarwal, who without doing any further examination, suggested her to undergo operation for removal of left breast alongwith tumor which was Accordingly done. Post-Op X-ray of chest and ultrasound found to be normal.
4. However, it was alleged that Doctor was trying to extract the money unnecessarily. However, subsequent Histopathological Examination (HPE) Report came negative for cancer with clear remarks made at the end of the report as “Adjacent margins negative for tumour cell infiltration”.
5. Thus, it was alleged that it was a clear negligence on the part of operating doctors who performed unnecessary operation and created fear of cancer in the mind of the complainant and her family. It was unfair trade practice. The complainant thereafter being not satisfied, for further confirmation went to AIIMS, New Delhi, but it was alleged that AIIMS started Chemotherapy to save the skin of operating Doctor.
6. The patient was also subjected for bone scan and Cyto-pathological study, which revealed ‘Negative for cancer’ and the Chemotherapy was stopped. The patient was again taken to Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute of Research Centre wherein nothing significant was revealed.
7. Alleging medical negligence on the part of opponents for wrong diagnosis of cancer, the complainant prayed compensation of Rs. 30 lakhs.
1. The Doctors and Hospital denied the allegations of negligence and relied upon the FNAC report which came positive.
2. Thereafter, the breast lump was removed and sent for histopathological examination at Micro Path Lab which it confirmed “the diagnosis or Infiltrating duct carcinoma with lymph node metastasis”.
3.Accordingly, she was treated by Chemotherapy. It was further stated that even the LAL Path Lab report where the patient was referred by AIIMS, revealed “7/7 Metastatic lymph nodes with no perinodal spread”, thus, cancer was confirmed again. Therefore, the allegations of wrong FNAC were denied. During the pendency of the complaint, the complainant, Bimla Devi, died and her legal representatives were brought on record.
1. The National Commission after giving thoughtful consideration to the facts, record and the arguments, dismissed the Appeal.
2. While dealing with the main question that whether the patient had malignancy or not? The Commission observed that the Complainant was was misconceived about the terminology as negative for malignancy at the tumor margins, in the HPE Report.
3. The court observed that the LAL Pathology Lab had examined few slides from the lymph nodes and the margins of the tumor, therefore, it was reported as ‘no evidence of primary malignancy seen in blocks and slides examined’, meaning thereby few slides from the tumor mass were not received by Lal Path Lab, but the lymph nodes metastasis itself confirms that the patient had invasive duct carcinoma.
4. Thus relying upon the medical record i.e. HPE and FNAC report, it was held that the patient was suffering from malignancy of breast. There was no fault either from the pathologist or the treating surgeon . The diagnosis was correct and treatment was also correct.
Cancer is such a deadly decease that most of the patients lose all their hopes and courage once it is diagnosed. The Patient requires emotional treatment also from the doctors. The case in hand shows that how the element of "trust" is slowly diminishing. The Patient-Doctor dialogue also must improve. Lets hope that the situations changes in the interest of entire society.
In consumer cases, the Complainant is not required to pay the stamp duty and thus any amount of compensation can be claimed. If this case is to be filed in civil court, then heavy stamp duty will be attracted. This is the major difference. There is no provision to punish frivolous and fraud complainants. As observed by the Apex Court, CPA should not become Halter round the neck of Doctors.
Thanks and Regards
Adv. Rohit Erande
You can read the judgement by clicking on the following link