FIR against Kolkata Hospital for forging signatures on consent forms
Kolkata: Alleging that hospital authorities forged a signature on the consent form, the relatives of a patient have filed an FIR against a Kolkata based private hospital.According to a recent report by the Indian Express, the forgery was done after the hospital refused to comply with the order of the West Bengal Clinical Establishments Regulatory Commission (WBCERC), where they were...
Kolkata: Alleging that hospital authorities forged a signature on the consent form, the relatives of a patient have filed an FIR against a Kolkata based private hospital.
According to a recent report by the Indian Express, the forgery was done after the hospital refused to comply with the order of the West Bengal Clinical Establishments Regulatory Commission (WBCERC), where they were held responsible for medical negligence that led to the death of a 77-year-old patient.
The hospital was directed by the panel to pay a compensation amount of Rs 5 lakh to the patient's kin.
Informing about the complaint, Gourab Lal, DC, East Division confirmed to the Indian Express, "The case is about forgery of signature for operative consent. An investigation is underway to check if signatures were forged. Officers of the Questioned Document Examination Bureau (QDEB) will be roped in to ascertain if the papers were forged. The hospital has moved Calcutta High Court contesting the directive of the regulatory panel. "
The FIR was filed on February 2 against the hospital in Purba Jadavpur police station after preliminary examination of the documents under sections 120B (criminal conspiracy), 420 (cheating), 467 (forgery of valuable security), 468 (purpose of cheating) and 471 (whoever fraudulently uses security as genuine) of the Indian Penal Code.
According to the daily, WBCERC order dated December 22 read, "There had been total miscommunication as would appear from the WhatsApp messages and call records (sic)… We hold the CE (Medica) responsible for the maladministration and manhandling of the situation and award a sum of rupees 5 lakh as compensation."
The case goes back to August last year when the patient was admitted to the concerned Superspecialty Hospital after she complained of pain in her abdomen suspected to be from gallbladder stones. She was taken to an Emergency ward and, thereafter, to a High Dependency Unit (HDU) under an endocrinologist and a general surgeon. According to the family, she was initially asked to give conservative treatment as she was responding well to oral medications (antibiotics). She was a diabetic for the last twenty years, and had suffered twice from heart failure and had a pacemaker installed because of arrhythmia.
The family alleged that the hospital changed the treatment plan overnight on August 29, with neither consulting or discussing with them nor with the doctor who were attending on her. A family member said, "The team of doctors had no internal communication and neither was there a joint discussion except for the first time when she was in the HDU".
It has been reported that the patient had informed her daughter of the surgery, and she was taken off food and water since midnight, alleged the family. The attending doctors did not counsel not inform the patient about the high risk surgery, said the kin. She passed away on August 31, 2021 in the hospital.
Speaking to the daily about the case, the patient's daughter said, "There is no question of consent. They didn't even let us or my mother know that they were planning a surgery. She was in a state of panic when she called me. The hospital had started preparing for the surgery. They had put her on fast for 18 hours without speaking to us or among themselves. Without considering her medical history or the fact that she belonged in the high-risk category of patients, they started preparing for the surgery. We want this hospital shut down. It has zero ethics". She added that her mother died due to the carelessness of the hospital.
However, the hospital denied all the allegations and released a statement saying, "We have the OT consent papers. The OT was planned on August 30 and her father signed on the consent paper as it was a high-risk case. The patient and her daughter also signed it at 6pm. They have shared a paper from August 27 having a signature that isn't theirs. How could we verify who signed on that paper on her first day at the hospital as we have no background information available.
The president of the Superspecialty Hospital, told the Indian Express, "We duly submitted our response to the honourable commission before the hearing in the month of December (2021). We have mentioned the time when they signed on the consent form. We have challenged the order of commission at the high court. Our petition was filed on January 28. The matter was to be listed for hearing on February 7. So, they (the patient's kin) filed the complaint as an afterthought."
But the hearing couldn't be held on the scheduled date, with the hospital authorities claiming that there was a delay in surgery as the patient's kin delayed giving their consent.
The president added, "The delay in OT may also be attributed to their delay in giving consent. Until a patient's family gives consent, we cannot move the person to OT. It was decided that the patient will undergo surgery around 10 pm on August 29. Next morning, two medical boards were formed and after a detailed explanation to the family, they signed on the first consent form around 4.30 pm and the second at 6pm. After 7pm, the patient was shifted to the OT." Further, the president alleged, "Her condition deteriorated after she was administered anaesthesia. She was admitted with multiple comorbidities and her family was fully aware that she was to be operated on. However, we couldn't pinpoint a specific date on when she will undergo surgery as we had to stabilise her blood sugar levels. The matter is sub-judice and we will await the court's direction in the matter."