The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has given a clean chit to a city-based ENT (ear, nose and throat) specialist Dr SC Pandhi in an alleged case of medical negligence dating back to 2008, where he, along with Oriental Insurance India Limited, had been asked to pay a compensation of Rs 5 lakh to a patient by the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission in July 2011. Litigation costs of Rs 10,000 had also been imposed.
The national commission went through expert opinion given by four doctors at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, to conclude that there was no negligence on the part of Dr Pandhi, who runs a hospital in Sector 36 in the city.
The commission added that the complainant — Karan Kaushik, a resident of Sector 23 — had, in fact, been negligent in not continuing treatment as advised by hospitals like the PGI and the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi, for sinusitis.
Setting aside the state commission’s order, the national panel observed that clinical examination showed that the patient had been advised the correct treatment.
“No negligence can be attributed on part of the doctor ...there is nothing to suggest that the surgery was not performed properly,” the order says.
What was the complaint?
In February 2008, Kaushik had approached Dr Pandhi for treatment of bilateral max sinusitis. He later moved the state commission alleging that the doctor had wrongly diagnosed the disease as deviated nasal septum (DNS). He claimed that due to the ‘misdiagnosis’, he was declared unfit to apply for the conversion of his commercial pilot licence.
State commission’s order
In its July 2011 order, the state commission had said, “The doctor was negligent in not getting the CT scan conducted and getting the diagnosis wrong. Wrong treatment was started…indicating that the Dr Pandhi either did not have the skill to diagnose and treat the patient or he did not use the skill he had.” This panel even went on to observe that Dr Pandhi could not prove that he is a doctor.
The national commission rebutted this. “This was never the issue before the state commission as the complainant himself has stated that the opposite party (Dr SC Pandhi) is a doctor,” it has said. Dr Pandhi’s counsel VK Sachdeva, who represented him before the national panel in New Delhi, said, “The judgment will go a long way in boosting the confidence of the medical fraternity and act as deterrent for people who file false negligence cases. Dr Pandhi’s unblemished reputation for 50 years has been restored.”