Hospital fined Rs 3 lakh for death by wrong diagnosis

Hospital fined Rs 3 lakh for death by wrong diagnosis

New Delhi:  The apex consumer commission has directed a hospital in Chennai to pay Rs three lakh for medical negligence which led to the death of a 15-year-old boy in 2000. The boy was treated for two days for measles, when he, in fact developed TEN disease.

Toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN) is a potentially life-threatening dermatologic disorder characterized by widespread erythema, necrosis, and bullous detachment of the epidermis and mucous membranes, resulting in exfoliation and possible sepsis and/or death (definition)

The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) upheld the Tamil Nadu state consumer commission’s decision dismissing the Billroth hospital’s appeal while asking it to pay Rs 10,000 as legal cost besides the compensation.

A district forum had in 2006 directed the hospital to pay the compensation to Chennai-resident R Vijaylakshmi for wrongly diagnosing and treating her son for measles, instead of Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis (TEN), a life-threatening skin condition that is usually caused by a reaction to drugs.

The hospital, which was held guilty by the forum, had moved the state commission against the order but was denied relief again.

The hospital contended that the forum and the state commission had erred in holding the hospital guilty and said that as soon as they diagnosed the disease, they ensured the service of a dermatologist.

“Bearing in mind the fact that the deceased was a young boy of 15 years of age, the amount of compensation awarded cannot be held to be excessive by any standards. Consequently, the Revision Petition fails and is dismissed accordingly with costs quantified at Rs 10,000,” the NCDRC bench headed by its President Justice D K Jain said.

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According to the complaint, the boy was admitted to the hospital on July 11, 2000 and doctors gave him treatment for Measles but two days later the doctors diagnosed TEN disease.

The dermatologist, who was treating the boy, told the NCDRC that early diagnosis of TEN would have definitely helped to save the patient.

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