The State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission of Punjab has directed a private hospital of Rajpura and its two doctors to pay Rs 40 lakh in compensation and Rs 33,000 as cost of litigation to a Rajpura woman on account of deficiency in service and medical negligence in diagnosing the disease of her 48-year-old husband, who later died of cancer.
A Bench of Justice Paramjit Singh Dhaliwal (president) has directed Neelam Hospital and its two doctors, Dr Nitin Gupta and Dr Prem Raj Gupta, to pay an amount of Rs 40.33 lakh to complainant Renu Bala, along with an interest at the rate of 7 per cent per annum from the date of filing of this complaint, which is August 6, 2018, till payment.
The complainant, Bala, through her counsel Devinder Soundh had submitted before the commission that in February 2017, her husband Inderjit Singh,48, started complaining of stomach ache. Therefore, he was taken to Neelam Hospital, where she was assured that the patient was in safe hands and there was nothing to worry about. It was said the hospital was one of the finest in the Punjab region and had a team of well-qualified doctors.
According to the complaint, Inderjit was examined by Dr Nitin Gupta and Dr Prem Raj Gupta, who said there was a normal infection in stomach. They prescribed a course of few medicines and asked the patient to come a few days later for further examination. They assured that the prescribed medicines would reduce the patient’s pain. However, even after following the doctors’ instructions, the patient experienced no relief. Rather his condition worsened. Then the doctors recommended an ultrasound and a few more tests, which detected two acrogenic stones in the pelvis of kidney.
The patient’s surgery was conducted by the doctors and he was discharged on April 30, 2017. However, the patient did not get any respite from the pain even after the surgery. Then it was suggested that DJ stent was required to be done immediately without explaining the use of the same. The patient had recently undergone stone surgery, for which the patient’s wife had paid Rs 1.50 lakh in May 2017. Even after the second procedure, the patient’s condition did not improve.
Getting no relief, the patient was then taken to PGIMER, Chandigarh, where it was detected that he was suffering from fourth stage cancer, which is Metastatic Carcinoma Ascending Colon with Perforation. But due to unavailability of the surgeon concerned, the complainant had to take the patient to Max Healthcare Hospital, Mohali, where he remained admitted from May 26 till June 17, 2017. The complainant spent Rs 18 lakh on the patient’s treatment. However, he later died due to cancer on November 22, 2017.
Feeling aggrieved, Bala filed a formal complaint at the commission.
The Neelam Hospital in reply denied any medical negligence and submitted that the doctors have been wrongly implicated in the matter as they had explained the treatment to the complainant.
After hearing the arguments, the commission held that “instead of detecting the root reason of the problem of the patient and while not treating the main disease compelled him to undergo surgeries and medicated with the higher concerted medicines, which intensified the cancer cells that spread (to) all other organs of his body as a result of which he expired on 22.11.2017. Early detection of the cancer could have saved the life of the patient”.
Holding the hospital and its two doctors negligent, the commission held that “the precious time to detect/control the root cause disease i.e. cancer of colon was lost, which subsequently resulted in the demise of the patient”.
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