Case Law

ORDER DATED: 17.09.2019 (West Bengal State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission)

A doctor was recently held negligent and ordered to pay Rs. 3 lakh as compensation as he was held negligent for not referring the patient ‘immediately’ to a relevant specialist upon diagnosis of cancer.

In this case, the patient was diagnosed with fibro adenosis in the right breast by Dr. Mahapatra and a surgery was performed to excise the same. Histopathological Examination (HPE) confirmed that the patient had cancer in right breast. The doctor prescribed medicines for post-surgery care, but patient’s condition deteriorated. Subsequently, the patient underwent radical mastectomy and sessions of chemotherapy at another hospital.

Later, the patient sued the doctor and alleged negligence on his part. The West Bengal State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission found the doctor negligent as he continued to treat the patient even after she was diagnosed with cancer. The Commission observed that while the medicines prescribed by doctor did not have an adverse effect on the patient, crucial time was wasted in referring her to an oncologist. The Commission further observed that a practitioner must refer the patient to relevant specialist when the diagnosed condition does not fall under his / her practicing specialty.

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