Max Super Speciality Hospital Held Liable for Prescribing Milk to Ulcerative Colitis Patient

Amrinder Singh Sidhu and B. M. Sharma, held the hospital responsible for prescribing milk to a patient with ulcerative colitis, which could seriously harm his health
The patient discovered discrepancies, including charges for dietician visits that never occurred and the recommendation to consume milk at night, despite his ulcerative colitis condition. (Representational image: Pixabay)
The patient discovered discrepancies, including charges for dietician visits that never occurred and the recommendation to consume milk at night, despite his ulcerative colitis condition. (Representational image: Pixabay)

The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission-II, U.T. Chandigarh, has found Max Super Speciality Hospital, Mohali, liable for negligence and unfair trade practices. The bench, comprising Amrinder Singh Sidhu and B. M. Sharma, held the hospital responsible for prescribing milk to a patient with ulcerative colitis, which could seriously harm his health. Additionally, the hospital was found to have inflated the patient's COVID-19 treatment bill.

The complainant, a Mohali-based patient, was admitted to Max Hospital on January 23, 2021, as a COVID-positive patient and was discharged on February 12, 2021. The hospital charged him Rs 7,62,445.80 for the treatment, out of which Rs 1,11,851 was billed to the patient, and the rest was charged to the insurance company. Upon reviewing the bills post-discharge, the patient discovered discrepancies, including charges for dietician visits that never occurred and the recommendation to consume milk at night, despite his ulcerative colitis condition.

The patient also pointed out that the hospital billed for physiotherapist visits twice daily, although only one visit occurred where the physiotherapist demonstrated some breathing exercises and then merely instructed him to continue the exercises on his own. Other alleged overcharges included alpha beds, PPE kits, and CT contrast, which were billed without being performed.

The hospital argued that the diet chart followed was supervised by a professional dietician and that physiotherapy was administered as part of regular medical treatment. (Representational image: Wikimedia Commons)
The hospital argued that the diet chart followed was supervised by a professional dietician and that physiotherapy was administered as part of regular medical treatment. (Representational image: Wikimedia Commons)

In his complaint, the patient demanded Rs 3 lakhs in compensation, citing incorrect charges and negligence. The hospital, however, contended that the total bill was Rs 7,62,445.86, with Rs 44,108 discounted as per an MOU with the insurance company, which covered Rs 6,06,486. The hospital maintained that the billing was accurate per the hospital tariff and the MOU and that it was up to the patient and the insurance company to resolve any refund issues.

The hospital argued that the diet chart followed was supervised by a professional dietician and that physiotherapy was administered as part of regular medical treatment. However, the consumer court found the dietician's advice to consume milk at night to be inappropriate for a patient with ulcerative colitis, potentially causing severe health issues. The court termed this clear negligence on the dietician's part and a deficiency in service.

The court also noted that the hospital failed to provide convincing evidence to justify the charges billed to the patient. The Commission ruled that the hospital had exaggerated the medical bill by including charges for unprovided services, amounting to a deficiency in service and unfair trade practices.

As a result, the Commission directed Max Super Speciality Hospital to pay Rs 1.2 lakh as compensation to the patient for the loss, harassment, and mental agony caused by the hospital's deficient services and unfair trade practices. This amount includes litigation expenses.

The order stated that the hospital must comply within 45 days of receiving the certified copy of the order. If the hospital fails to do so, it will be liable to pay the awarded amount along with 9% interest per year from the date of the order until the payment is realized.

(Input from various sources)

(Rehash/ Susmita Bhandary/MSM)

The patient discovered discrepancies, including charges for dietician visits that never occurred and the recommendation to consume milk at night, despite his ulcerative colitis condition. (Representational image: Pixabay)
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