After doctors at Jaslok Hospital told a 43-year-old man that his hanging tumour had gone under the knife – and with success – he returned to Kolkata looking forward to a peaceful convalescence. Imagine Deo Prakash Pandey’s shock when doctors back home examined him and told him that doctors in the well-known and expensive hospital in Mumbai had faked the entire procedure, and fed him the lie that he had been operated upon.
The South Mumbai District Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum (SMDCDRF) has now ordered Jaslok hospital and two of its doctors to reimburse costs borne by Pandey for the surgery he paid for at the hospital back in 2008.
“Jaslok hospital cheated my client. He suffered physically and mentally. He suffered losses in his business because of the fake operation. Court has ordered the hospital and its doctors to pay compensation,” said JB Singh, Pandey’s lawyer.
Last week, the SMDCDRF issued an order to Dr Amish Dalal, a cancer specialist in Jaslok hospital, Dr D Dasgupta, a consultant at the hospital, the hospital authorities to jointly or separately pay Pandey compensation for the ‘mental agony’ and ‘physical harassment’ caused to him owing to the deficiency in their service.
Pandey (43), a government contractor, was diagnosed with a hanging tumour in 2008, caused by excessive stress on the vocal chords. In September that year, Pandey and his wife Uma went to Jaslok Hospital for treatment. Dr Amish V Dalal and Dr D Dasgupta recommended surgery – he was wheeled in to the OT, anaesthetized and later told that the operation was successful.
Harbouring the misconception that he was on the road to recovery, Pandey returned to Kolkata but soon realised that he was still in pain. When he approached doctors in Kolkata, they examined him and reached the unanimous conclusion that he hadn’t been operated upon. On January 28, 2009, Dr SP Bera of Belle Vue Clinic in Kolkata operated on Pandey and removed the tumour.
Uma claims that when she contacted Dr Dalal, he behaved rudely with her. Feeling cheated, Pandey filed a petition in SMDCDRF through his lawyer JB Singh, seeking compensation of Rs 20 lakh. The court recently ordered the doctors and hospital management to reimburse him an amount of Rs 93, 760 – the cost met by Pandey to have the tumour removed in Kolkata. They have also been asked to pay nine per cent interest on the reimbursement amount for the entire duration that has passed since the surgery.
“Money (compensation) is not an object for us. I am also a doctor. We have our own hospital. Jaslok Hospital cheated and insulted us. The court’s order is not final. We will appeal at the state level,” said Uma.
The Other Side
“I am sick. I am not able to talk,” said Dr NH Wadia, director Jaslok hospital. The CEO of Jaslok hospital Dr RR Phulgaonkar said, “I don’t know. I will check.”