Times of India
26 April 2010
The Tamil Nadu State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has ordered a Tiruchi–based hospital to pay Rs 25,000 as compensation to a man wrongly diagnosed as HIV positive.
The commission, headed by Justice M Thanikachalam, ordered Sea Horse Hospitals to pay the compensation to R Yogaraja of Woraiyur, who was told that he was HIV positive on the basis of a blood test. Yogaraja has won the case several years after he first approached a district consumer forum, accusing the hospital of deficient service.
According to Yogaraja, he was admitted for a stomach ailment to Panneer Nursing Home on September 21, 2002, and treated by Dr Panneer Selvam. Next day, the doctor sent his blood sample to Sea Horse Hospitals for a test whose findings suggested that he was HIV positive.
In order to seek a second opinion, Yogaraja submitted his blood samples to another laboratory in Tiruchi, which found him HIV negative. Yogaraja approached Sea Horse Hospitals again on October 5 and provided his blood sample for a test. This time, he was declared HIV negative.
Stating that due to medical negligence by Dr Panneer Selvam and Sea Horse Hospitals, he was subjected to neglect by the society, including his wife, Yogaraja approached the Tiruchi District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum. In June 2005, the forum ordered Dr Panneer Selvam and Sea Horse Hospitals to pay Rs 50,000 compensation to the complainant.
Challenging the order, both parties moved the state commission with separate appeals. Dr Panneer Selvam said there was no deficiency in service on his part as he had sent the blood samples for a test as he suspected Yogaraja had infected HIV virus and that he had discharged him on his insistence.
Sea Horse Hospitals said the first time it didn’t know if the sample was that of the complainant. When the complainant came in person, he tested negative for HIV, it claimed. The commission rejected Sea Horse Hospitals’ contention and said it was clear that the original report given by the hospital was incorrect and for which the hospital didn’t have a convincing explanation.
“We hold that the mistake should have been only in the Sea Horse Hospital’s lab and, certainly, it should have caused mental agony to the complainant,” the commission said.
On the allegations against Dr Panneer Selvam, the commission held: “The doctor had a doubt that was confirmed by the blood test and he prescribed medicines. When the complainant wanted to be discharged, he immediately did it and we did not find any deficiency in service rendered by him.”
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