NEW DELHI: Reputed diagnostic pathology lab, Dr Lal Path Labs, has been directed by a Consumer Forum here to pay Rs 4 lakh compensation to a paediatric specialist in an Army hospital for wrongly diagnosing her HIV positive nearly 11 years back.
Noting that there were increasing number of complaints against the lab, New Delhi Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum said the facts reveal a “shocking state of affairs”.
It said the lab was “fleecing consumers by false advertisements and use inefficient medical personnel and staff”.
This has been amply demonstrated by number of consumers coming against the lab for various deficiencies, it said. The result of imperfection on its part was to such an extent that a DNA test was conducted instead of one for HIV virus.
“It has traumatized the life of complainant (doctor), her husband and children, affected temporarily her career in short time which were as a direct result of a wrong test done without knowing its background and then going to get the correct information after doing the test,” a bench headed by its President C K Chaturvedi said.
Holding the lab guilty of rendering imperfect service, deficiency and keeping in view the turmoil caused to complainant Major (Retd) Dr Gaitry Kolley, the bench awarded her damages of Rs 3.5 lakh and Rs 50,000 as litigation costs. Kolley, who was working with the Army Medical Corps as a paediatric specialist in a military hospital at Pune’s Kirkee, said in her complaint that on May 24, 2003, she had accidentally pricked her finger during a routine procedure on a baby born to an HIV positive mother.
As per the duty code of the armed forces, she reported the matter to the duty medical officer and got herself tested from different laboratories to ascertain whether the HIV virus had passed into her at the time of the needle prick incident.
The tests revealed there was no infection, but in July 2003, Kolley went for a conformity test at Dr Lal Path Labs in Delhi as the processed state-of-the-art equipment for various tests and known for its expertise, she said.
She said in the complaint that on August 4, 2003, she got a call from the Pune office of that lab which conveyed to her that the report was positive and this traumatized her and her family members.