Rajasthan : 29th February 2016
Consumer forum tells
dentist to pay Rs 2 lakh for faulty treatment
Life of a dentist is getting harder day by day. Patients are more aware about their rights and treatment procedures. Each and every aspect of treatment plan and outcome is being assessed by the patient in great detail. In some ways its a good thing as it indicates the increased awareness among patients regarding oral health.
But for doctors who are not very careful with their procedures or outcome are now being sued by the patients at the consumer forum. Such cases have increased a lot in past few years. This latest report is from Rajasthan.
A dental practitioner has been held guilty of faulty treatment procedure by a consumer court with a fine of Rs 2 Lakhs to be paid to the patient. (Names are changed to protect privacy)
The Complaint –
On July 19, 2015, the complainant, Miss.Mule (Name Changed) , visited Dr X (Name Changed) and after a check-up, he told her that one tooth would have to extracted and another could be salvaged. He also told her that the extracted tooth would be replaced with a new one that would last for 15-20 years. The dentist was trying to convince the patient for implant procedure but due to financial reasons the dentist and patient agreed for a crown and bridge. The procedures, which were to cost total around Rs 24,000, included teeth cleaning (Scaling), root canal treatment (RCT), extraction of remaining piece of a tooth and fixing a new bridge with crowns. Mule said she paid an initial price of Rs 4000 for the treatment and Dr X took the initial measurements for Crown & Bridge.
The complainant added that the treatment was completed on September 1st, 2015 with a new crown & bridge and the complainant paid the entire sum of Rs 24,000. Within a week of using the crown & bridge, the complainant started having pain at the gums and while chewing at the site of crown and bridge. There was a gap in the crown and bridge. Complainant had the photographs of the treatment & crown-bridge as evidence submitted. The defendant doctor, told the patient that it was a temporary issue that will resolve by itself.
But on September 15, 2005, Mule again complained to Dr X of severe pain and he asked her to undergo a digital X-ray. On examining the X-ray, he told her that some parts of the extracted tooth had remained in the gums which were touching the bridge, causing pain. Dr X told that the bony piece might cause cancer and it needs to be removed. While doing that procedure the crown & bridge broke. The defendant Dr.X informed that Mule will need to pay for a new Crown & Bridge amounting to Rs 8000 extra.
The complainant refused to pay extra amount and sought to take a second opinion. Miss Mule visited 3 other dentists with the issue (along with all the treatment records & photographs). All the 3 dentists told her that the treatment was done in a faulty manner – specifically the extraction was not done properly before placing a crown and bridge.
Verdict – The consumer forum took in to consideration the opinion of 3 additional dental surgeons of repute and concluded that Dr.X has map-informed Miss Mule on the threat of cancer. Secondly the extraction that was done was faulty that lead to the pain for the patient. Thirdly the demand for an extra 9000 Rupees for a new crown and bridge was not justified as in this case the fault was in the treatment procedure. The experts said the procedures were performed in a negligent manner, which was enough to prove the allegations of the complainant. The consumer court instructed the dentist to pay a compensation of 2 lakhs rupees to Miss Mule and also bear the cost of her re-treatment if she decides to go another dentist for consultation.
Point To Learn – As a health professional always keep a track of all the legalities . Be Honest. Keep a digital record of all the treatments to counter any false claim by the patients. There are many incidences where patients have falsely accused dentists & surgeons to harass money. In this case under discussion the dentist was at fault and he had to pay a huge sum of Rs 2 lakhs to the patient. So be honest, be careful & be vigilant.
Read one more medico legal care where a patient falsely tries to sue a dentist for 1 million but judiciary puts a fine on the patient. Read & learn.