Chinchpokli resident Sarita Nevge fears going to hospital ever since she lost her husband Sachidanand in 1997, allegedly because of a hospital’s negligence.
“He had undergone spinal surgery at a Parel hospital. Though the surgery went well, there was negligence in his post operative care. Throughout his post-operative hospitalisation, his blood pressure was measured only once,” said Sachidanand’s brother Ravindra, who pursued the case with the State
Consumer Commission and was awarded a compensation of Rs5 lakh in March.
“Even today, his wife is depressed. Her husband died suddenly, leaving her with school-going children,” said Newge.
According to lawyers, of 464 judgments by the National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission in the last four months, 43 were related to medical negligence.
“Earlier, doctors had the status of a demigod, but now, with medical treatment getting more expensive, patients want results. Also, exposure to the internet had made patients aware of different treatment methods,” said Mahendra Bajpai, a Supreme Court advocate who is also editor of the journal ‘Medical Law Cases for Doctors’.
Family members of such patients are the worst hit, said doctors.
“They are already anxious because the patient is suffering from an ailment. Above that, when there is any form of misdiagnosis or negligence, relatives tend to lose faith in the entire medical fraternity,” said psychologist Seema Hingorany.
Hingorany is currently treating a 42-year-old man who was first told that he did not have cancer and was later diagnosed with prostate cancer.
“The previous doctor told him that all his tests were fine, and even labelled him a psychological hypochondriac (excessive preoccupation with one’s own health). But when he came to Mumbai, doctors diagnosed him with prostate cancer. Now, he refuses to undergo treatment.”
Added Dr Y Matcheswalla, psychiatrist at JJ Hospital, Byculla: “I once counselled a man who developed suicidal tendencies after being diagnosed with HIV. Another test showed that he was not suffering from HIV.”