CHENNAI: A city resident has been awarded compensation by the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, after a reputed private hospital wrongly certified him as HIV-positive and thus unfit for employment. This cost him an overseas job with a Japanese firm.
Taking serious note of the hospital erroneously certifying R Mohanan of Tiruvanmiyur as HIV-positive without a more accurate follow-up test, the commission, headed by retired Justice R Regupathi, awarded him Rs 60,000 as compensation and cost.
The incident happened in February 2007, when Mohanan approached the hospital in Adyar for the pre-employment medical check-up as mandated by the employer, Haneda Consultants and Agencies Private Ltd, for a road project in Algeria.
After the tests, he was declared HIV-positive, and the medical report said “NOT FIT” in bold letters. Just a week later, he was informed that his job offer stood cancelled.
Since the issue affected his family life, Mohanan and his wife opted for another check up, this time at the Voluntary Health Services, where both were declared HIV-negative. Following this, he again approached the hospital and underwent a detailed test. This time, much to his relief, the result was negative for both HIV-I and II.
Armed with the two reports that said he was HIV-negative, Mohanan and his wife approached the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission with a complaint against the hospital, seeking Rs 30 lakh as compensation for negligence, damage to reputation and mental agony due to deficiency in service.
The hospital argued that the Japanese company had made arrangements and payment only for rapid ELISA test, which has an element of error.
There was an ‘advice’ in the report to undergo the more accurate Western Blot test, contended the hospital, faulting the petitioner for not following the advice.
After hearing the contentions put forth by both parties, the commission rejected the hospital’s claim and said there was gross negligence and deficiency in service.