In a shocking case of medical negligence, a doctor from a Mumbai hospital has been found guilty of erroneously diagnosing breast cancer in a 33-year-old woman, who got her right breast surgically removed in 2005.
A district consumer forum, which the patient approached, has held the doctor and the hospital guilty for deficiency of services and for not taking proper precautions while conducting a diagnosis.
The forum has ordered the hospital and the doctor to repay the woman’s medical expenses — Rs. 41,000 — and pay an additional Rs. 1 lakh for causing mental agony and subjecting her to physical harassment.
Shamim Khan (name changed to protect identity), who was 27 years old in 2005, had approached Dr Sultan Pradhan at the Prince Aly Khan Hospital with complaints about pain in her right breast.
Pradhan advised her to undergo a Fine Needle Aspiration Cytology (FNAC) test with Dr Meena Desai, consultant histopathologist.
The test allegedly revealed that Khan was suffering from duct carcinoma (most common type of breast cancer) of the right breast.
Pradhan asked her to get the breast removed immediately, failing which the cancerous growth could spread to other parts of the body, and could even lead to death. Khan followed Pradhan’s advice and underwent the surgery.
However, when she found the conduct of the doctors suspicious, Khan took another diagnostic test at the Tata Memorial Hospital in March 2006.
The hospital ruled out any cancerous growth, and referred her problem to be that of a severe infection, which could have been treated without surgery.
A shocked Khan then filed a complaint with the consumer forum in September 2007, and sought Rs7.5 lakh as compensation.
The hospital and doctors denied all allegations and asked for the complaint to be dismissed. The forum, however, ruled in her favour.