November 14, 2010

Doctors misleading patients liable to be prosecuted

Doctors misleading patients through false claims about their professional qualifications are liable to be prosecuted for rendering deficient service, the country's apex consumer body has held.

"It also amounts to unfair trade practice by doctors," the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) said.

The NCDRC ruling came on a complaint by Meerut native Surendra Kumar Tyagi against local doctor S K Sharma, who claimed to be a Master in Surgery and operated upon him, allegedly damaging permanently one of his kidneys.

"Though the doctor proclaimed himself to be an MS (Master in Surgery), he was in fact not so qualified (and) that would clearly amount to misrepresentation to the complainant and others about his real qualification and experience," said an NCDRC bench of members R C Jain and S Chandra.

"This is another deficiency in service or what we can term as adoption of unfair trade practice -- unethical practice on the part of a medical professional," it said. Agreeing with Tyagi's contentions and findings of the Uttar Pradesh State Consumer Commission, the NCDRC enhanced the compensation to him to Rs 2.5 lakh from Rs one lakh awarded by the state forum.

Tyagi had approached the apex consumer forum to enhance the compensation awarded to him by the state in the case against Dr Sharma and Meerut-based Jagat Nursing Home and Hospital.

Allowing Tyagi's appeal, the Commission said the compensation in cases of misrepresentation and negligence by doctors should be proportionate to the loss and injury suffered by the patient and cannot be arbitrary.

"For the kind of negligence, deficiency in service and the misrepresentation made by the doctor, award of compensation of Rs 1 lakh only cannot be considered as reasonable or commensurate with the loss, injury and mental and physical pain and agony suffered by the complainant," it said.

Link: Original Article

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