Paying for wrong diagnosis

A consumer disputes redressal forum in New Delhi has fined the well-known Dr Lal Path Labs with a compensation of Rs 3.5 lakh for mistakenly diagnosing an army doctor as HIV positive. In May 2003, the doctor, who was working with the Army Medical Corps as a paediatric specialist in a military hospital at Kirkee, Pune, had accidentally pricked her finger during a routine procedure on a baby born to an HIV positive mother. Alarmed, she approached several laboratories for tests, which confirmed that she was HIV negative. In her complaint she mentioned that she approached Dr Lal Path Labs for a “final conformity test”, which informed her that she was HIV positive. Over the next three months, she had to undergo another spate of tests and treatment at the Army Hospital. It was only after the second round of treatment that the doctor came to know that she had never been HIV positive. The test was false. The forum, in its compensation order, came down hard on the laboratory for her pain, humiliation and temporary hiatus in the doctor’s career due to the misdiagnosis.

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