November 24, 2016
Taking suo motu cognizance of media reports of medical negligence wherein a woman was wrongly diagnosed pregnant and after eight months was again diagnosed with a tumour in her abdomen, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued notice to the State Health Secretary and director of Kasturi Bai Gandhi Government Maternity Hospital, Chennai, seeking replies within two weeks.
Following is the text of the proceeding:
“The Commission has been receiving from time to time numerous complaints of medical negligence in primary health centres and government health centres all over the country. However, the incident reported in the Dinamalar and Thinathanthi, Tamil newspapers dated 23.11.2016, is classic, which goes to the core of the medical negligence on the part of hospital, the doctors etc.
“It is stated in the news report that one Hasina W/o Amir Ali, aged 28 years, resident of Kannagi Nagar, Rajiv Gandhi Road, Tamil Nadu, went to Kasturi Bai Government General Maternity Hospital for pregnancy check-up during April, 2016. She was checked and was diagnosed as pregnant. She visited the hospital frequently for review. She was informed that the tentative delivery will be after eight months and expected date of delivery would be on 8th Nov, 2016.
She was put under necessary medication required to take care of the development of healthy and normal child and she expected delivery in due course after a period of eight months, which she did not experience. As she did not develop any delivery pain in spite of the date elapsed, she went to the hospital, where a scanning was done.
The scanning report showed a baby. She came back home and suddenly on 21st Nov, 2016, she developed severe pain. She was again rushed to hospital where a fresh scan was done. She was informed that she was not pregnant and there was only a small tumor.
“The Commission considered the newspaper reports. If the contents appeared in the reports are true, it would amount to serious violation of human rights of a lady. Firstly, the lady was diagnosed positively as to her pregnancy when factually she was not pregnant. There was either a wrong diagnose or misdiagnosis. It appears that right from the month of April, 2016 she had been regularly visiting the hospital for her review and surprisingly for all these eight months she was medicated for her pregnancy.
The Commission fails to understand how the doctors had failed to notice even the physical growth of the baby for the eight months let alone from the physical appearance of the lady. The above facts show a total callous attitude in the diagnosis of a lady, who was not only given a positive report for the pregnancy but was also made to consume number of medicines during the period of eight months.
“The Commission finds the following human rights violation of the lady in her treatment:-
(i) She was not correctly diagnosed or she was misdiagnosed for the pregnancy and she was wrongly administered medicines as if she was pregnant.
(ii) Tumor in the ovary was not diagnosed initially and she was deprived of her valuable right for treatment.
(iii) She and her husband were made to believe that the lady was pregnant. When they were informed that she was not really pregnant, the mental shock which they received was unimaginable.
“The Commission would like to observe further that despite claiming progress over the last few decades, women are not getting their right to be treated genuinely and correctly at the State-run hospitals. Doctors and hospitals are expected to provide medical treatment with all the knowledge and skills. The patient approaching a doctor / a hospital expects treatment with all the knowledge and skills that doctors possess and to bring relief to the medical problem.
“It is well recognized human right of a patient for correct diagnosis of the disease. Misdiagnosis leads to error in medication and suffering of the patient for such medication cannot be described or defined. That apart wrong diagnoses of patient, the mental agony of the lady and for that matter of her husband would be beyond one’s imagination. The doctor and other staff involved in the treatment of the lady in question appear to be negligent, thus, had violated human rights of the lady.
“The Commission takes very serious note of the newspaper reports and directs the issuance of notice to the Secretary (Health Department), Government of Tamil Nadu and Director, Kasturi Bai Government General Maternity Hospital for response within two weeks.”