A consumer forum has pulled up a private hospital and directed it to pay Rs one lakh in compensation to the kin of a youth for delaying diagnostic tests that lead to worsening of his medical condition.
The East District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum observed that though Shanti Mukund Hospital claims to be well equipped, it has no infrastructure to deal with emergency cases of neurosurgery or neurology.
The forum held the hospital responsible for medical malpractice in delayed diagnosis of the neurological condition of a computer science student.
It noted that three valuable hours were lost before the patient was first examined and that he was taken to the diagnostic centre almost 20 hours after hospitalisation.
"In the present case, the delay in providing the proper facility of diagnostic test is apparent. Shanti Mukund Hospital, which claims to be one of the well equipped hospitals of East Delhi, has no infrastructure to deal with the cases of emergency of neurosurgery or neurology.
"They (hospital) have no business to admit such patient and play with his life. Had they referred him in time to some other hospital, may be his condition may not have further deteriorated and he would have recovered early...," a bench presided by N A Zaidi said.
"We hold the Chairman, the Director and the Medical Superintendent of the hospital responsible for medical malpractice," the bench said, and directed them to pay Rs one lakh to the patient.
The bench also observed that the hospital and the doctors attending to the patient were "driven by greed of corporate culture" and "played with the welfare of the patient by not providing urgent medical facilities which they are under obligation to provide".
The forum also relied on the report of an expert panel set up to study the matter.
In its report, the panel had said that "undue long delay on the part of the treating doctor resulted into the deterioration of the condition of the patient."
The patient's father, P K Aggarwal, in his complaint, alleged that had the doctors taken timely steps to diagnose the exact problem and started treatment, his son's condition would not have deteriorated.
Aggarwal had rushed his son to the hospital after he suffered from seizures.
He had further alleged that the delay occurred as the hospital wanted MRI test done at a centre located 10 km away with which it had a tie-up, instead of the one located right opposite the facility.
Refuting the allegations, the hospital claimed that it had provided the best possible treatment to the patient.
It also contended the delay in conducting the medical tests was due to the lack of consent from the patient's father.
The hospital's defence was, however, rejected due to lack of evidence.