The All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Rishikesh, Uttarakhand has found itself at the centre of controversy after it falsely diagnosed a patient with HIV.
The consumer forum in Haridwar imposed a fine of Rs 60,000 on the institute following a complaint lodged by Naseem Ali in January 2015. The previous year, Ali had sought treatment at the Dr B S Saini Kalawati Hospital in Roorkee for an injury. There, doctors discovered his blood was not clotting properly and referred him to AIIMS Rishikesh, where Ali underwent tests and was told by doctors that he was HIV-positive.
Later that year, Ali was admitted to Shri Mahant Indiresh Hospital. Despite his previous diagnosis with HIV, he was given the all-clear from the condition. This resulted in him taking AIIMS Rishikesh to the consumer forum,, along with the United India Insurance Company and the Dr BS Saini Kalawati Hospital where he was initially treated.
The consumer forum in its judgement found AIIMS Rishikesh culpable, asserting that the misdiagnosis arose from “inadequate services’ which had subsequently “[wasted] the complainant’s time and energy” and “[caused] mental trauma.” As such, they said the hospital was liable to pay out Rs 10,000 for the former and Rs 50,000 for the latter – adding that the amount should be paid within one month of the ruling. If not, the consumer forum said, the hospital would have to pay it at six percent annual interest.
The matter may not be settled, however. Spokesperson for AIIMS Rishikesh Dr Manoj Gupta said the ruling did not reflect that “it was a documentation error.” Dr Gupta asserted that “the very next day, it became clear to the patient that his report was negative,” adding that “nowhere in the discharge papers was it mentioned that the patient was HIV-positive.” Hence, the facility now intends to appeal against the ruling at the consumer forum.