Patient Sues Dentist For Rs 10 Lakhs/1 million $ And Gets Slapped A Fine
The modern day dentistry has improved the professional life of dentists a great deal. With technological advances the dental procedures are becoming easier and more predictable with improved patient satisfaction. There has been a constant increase in the earning capacity of dentists.
In this information age, patient have all the information on dental treatment, a touch away in their phones. They also have new found knowledge about legalities and consumer rights. In one way it’s a good thing – patient know their rights & doctors are also more careful/meticulous for the treatment they are doing.
But many times there are instances where a patient takes undue/unfair advantage of the system for their benefit and harming the doctor.
This particular case was such an instance.
Summary of the case : [Names have been changed to preserve identity]
Mumbai – Dec 2015
Patient (Mr.X) visited Dental Surgeon (Dr.Y) for replacement of missing tooth. As an evidence he has produced a bill of Rs 70,000 on a letter head of the clinic pad of Dr.Y (Submitted at the Consumer Court),
stating that he had paid a sum of Rs 70,000 for the dental treatment of Implants. Mr.X complain was that the dentist (Dr.Y) has done a faulty dental procedure and used second hand dental implants. As a result he suffered from unbearable pain in the Right Jaw bone. He complains of damage to his nerves. Due to the pain he had to remove 2 out of the 3 dental implants placed from another doctor. The complainant accusation was that the Dentist (Dr.Y) was experimenting on him causing him financial loss,mental agony. & dental pain. For this the patient was demanding a compensation of 10 Lakhs Rupees/15,000 $ from the dentist (Dr.Y)
Proceedings in Consumer Court :
The documents provided by the complainant was analysed thoroughly and treatment records from 4 dentists were also obtained. On proper analysis of the records it was clearer that the complainant patient had undergone treatment with 4 separate dental surgeons over a span of 4 years and possibly implant treatment. On further enquiry there was no direct evidence that the defendant dentist (Dr.Y) had indeed placed any dental implant for the patient. The payment of Rs 70,000 mentioned on the official letter head of the clinic pad was just a writing without any revenue stamp. It is just a mere writing on the letter head which appear to have been issued in good faith to the patient.
Consumer Court Verdict :
There is lack of any evidence that can categorically state that the implant were placed by Dr.Y. There are no records to prove that. Secondly the Note Pad of Dr.Y where it was mentioned that Rs 70,000 was paid as treatment fees is not a reliable evidence. As the amount is just scribbled with no revenue stamp. It creates doubt that the note pad might have been taken without Dr.Y’s notice and latter used to fill the amount in writing.
On these grounds the case was dismissed. The complainant (patient Mr.X) was instructed to pay the litigation fees to Dr.X and also extra fine for unethically using the letter pad of Dr.Y & forging the paid amount writing and signature.
Points to learn :
We the reader don’t know whats the exact truth so we will analyse the situation & learn from it. A smart person not only learns from his own mistake but also from other’s mistakes.
The courts always go by what’s present as a documented evidence. Courts never give judgement based on thoughts or lectures. So, it very very important that all the documents are in proper order.
- Be very careful about your official pad. Never issue blank pad to any one, not even your friends. as you saw in the case – it can be misused. Never leaver your pad out in open when you are not present in your clinic.(Keep it locked) Always instruct the attender working in your clinic, not to prescribe any medicine or use your official pad.
- Always keep a log of the patient visit, treatment done & the related radiographs and photographs of the medicine prescription.
- Always keep a copy of the bill/receipt of the payment by the patient for future reference. Make sure the receipt has the revenue stamp incase to refute against false big amount claims.
- As a patient you need to be clear what is the treatment, duration of treatment & cost of treatment.
- Keep a copy of all the receipts and dental records. (Pre Operative/ Post Operative).
- Keep a detailed list of payments made by you and make sure its counter signed with a revenue stamp/Seal.