Doctors can face trouble for failed surgeries
More power to the consumer is our motto, whether buying rajma or a watch. Pushpa Girimaji tells you how to get empowered.delhi Updated: Feb 12, 2012 00:31 IST
When Rameshbhai Harmanbhai Kachhiya consulted an ophthalmologist about his deteriorating eyesight, he was told that it would improve dramatically if he underwent a series of surgeries. The surgeries, however, left Kachiya with a highly impaired vision.
When Kachhiya sought compensation from the doctor for a failed surgery, the latter argued that the surgery was unsuccessful because his eyes were already weak. The apex consumer court found the doctor at fault for failing to present the true picture before the patient and misleading him about the surgery’s effect.
The doctor was asked to pay Rs 1,85,000 along with 12% interest(Dr Shyam Kumar vs Rameshbhai Harmanbhai Kachhiya, RP No 1486 of 2001)
Here is another such case
RC Sharda: My son got a nose correction surgery done nearly four years ago, but it did not produce desired results. Whenever we call the surgeon, he says some laser treatment needs to be carried out, but adds that the machine has not yet come. He does not tell us how much time he needs to complete the surgery. My son wants to become a model. He has already lost four years of his career. Whenever he goes for an audition, the judges point at his nose. What action can I take against the surgeon?
Answer: Take your son to a good plastic surgeon, may be in a major hospital, and get an opinion on what has gone wrong and what should to be done to correct it. This will not only help you take an immediate corrective action, but also help gather evidence against the surgeon, who obviously has done a bad job.
The next step is to prepare a case against the surgeon — from what you say he is guilty of unfair trade practice — for giving you false assurances about the results of the surgery. He might also have given false information about his capabilities as a surgeon, which also amounts to unfair trade practice. So, get hold of all the medical records about the surgery — you have a right to them and will need them for your complaint.
Now, you need to find out if he is guilty of negligence at work. This you can establish through an expert opinion. The next step is to send a notice to him, asking him to refund the cost of surgery and cost of the corrective surgery that your son has to undergo now.
You can also ask him to compensate your son for the opportunities lost. If he does not respond positively, you need to file a complaint before the consumer court.
There is a time limit of two years (calculated from the time the cause of action arose) for lodging a complaint before the consumer court. So, you will have to hurry and gather adequate evidence to support your claim. You also need to check whether the doctor is really qualified to do this kind of work? What is his educational background? Experience?
Since the doctor has not said that the treatment is complete and is promising to do more, you need to use that to ensure that your case is within the time as prescribed under the Consumer Protection Act for filing complaints.
So, when you write to the surgeon, do not forget to mention this — refer to his promises of further treatment and his failure to keep up to them.
If you need further help in the matter, contact the Association for Consumer Action on Safety and Health (www.acash.org), a Mumbai-based consumer organisation that fights for the rights of patients.