Vijay Ramola, a manager of State Bank of Patiala and resident of Chandigarh’s Sector 22, had to undergo three chemotherapy sessions at GMCH 32 after been wrongly diagnosed of stage IV lung cancer by a private lab of Chandigarh, when he was actually suffering from tuberculosis. He then moved the Chandigarh Consumer Forum on February 7, 2017, after being declared fit following treatment by a Dehradun doctor for TB.
In its judgment released on November 18, the Chandigarh Consumer Forum, giving a clean chit to the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, Chandigarh, directed the Spiral CT & MRI Centre of Sector 44, to pay Rs 2.15 lakh to the complainant for the side-effects he suffered due to chemotherapy.
In his application, Ramola stated that he had suffered from continuous cough for more than 15 days in 2014, for which he visited GMCH. Doctors advised him to undergo a CT scan of his chest and the reports indicated abnormal growth in the lung region. The pulmonary section of GMCH then conducted a sputum check and other tests to check for tuberculosis, in which nothing abnormal was detected. Hence he was advised to undergo a broncoscopy, and on receipt of the report of GMCH in December 2014, he was diagnosed with lung adenocarcinoma, and was thus referred to the hospital’s oncology department.
Ramola said that a PET Scan was then done by a private lab at Sector 44, Chandigarh, called Spiral CT & MRI Centre. Its report mentioned that the cancer had spread out of his lungs and to the bones, due to which the bones were likely to become weak, and crack at any stage, and diagnosed Ramola with stage IV cancer, he claimed.
Advocate Sumit Batra argued in the forum that Ramola thus underwent three rounds of chemotherapy at GMCH which were done in January and February in 2015. However, when there was no improvement, he was shifted to Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai. There, the doctors conducted a biopsy, in which it was found that Ramola had tuberculosis. He then underwent treatment for it from Dr K P Joshi of Dehradun, and was declared fit after nine months of treatment.
Since the complainant underwent pain and suffering, mental stress on being diagnosed with cancer stage IV, which is a stage of non-return, he thus moved the Chandigarh Consumer Forum against GMCH and the private lab, said the advocate.
GMCH in its reply submitted that no expert opinion was obtained to falsify its documents while all the tests were done and thereafter diagnosis was settled and even the lab had opined that the cancer had spread to the left pubic bone, sacrum, left iliac bone, and right transverse. It also said that it was the complainant who had opted for chemotherapy, while there may be chances that after conducting three chemotherapy sessions, the cancer was cured and then the complainant suffered from tuberculosis.
The Spiral CT & MRI Centre in its reply submitted that “it is nowhere opined that cancer had spread out from the lungs and spread into the bones of the complainant due to which the bones were likely to become weak and can crack at any stage”.
The forum bench, after going through the reports of Tata Memorial Hospital, observed: “No science on this earth is perfect so is the case with medical science and the doctors from OP-1 (GMCH) had also taken the assistance of the different labs and finally the PET scan of cancer from OP-2 (Spiral CT & MRI Centre) which is a private lab. Merely saying some human error has crept in the diagnosis will not prove that it was a case of medical negligence against doctors of OP-1,” read the judgment.
“Had there been doubt of infective pathology then OP-1 could not have put the complainant on this chemotherapy. Rather the report of OP-2 had put the complainant on God’s airport waiting for the final call to say goodbye to the world and he was put in fear of hanging death sentence. Thus, we hold, chemotherapy was administered which had various side effects, pain and suffering to the complainant and to us it appears, it is on account of deficiency in service on the part of OP-2 that chemotherapy was recommended and undertaken…,” read the judgment.
The bench then directed the Spiral CT & MRI Centre to pay Rs 2 lakh as compensation and Rs 15,000 as cost of litigation.