Over the past 20 years, medical technology has seen a tremendous growth. According to a recent study, medical technology has evolved more in the last 20 years than in the past thousand years. The same growth is also imminent in the total number of hospitals being established.
So far there are a total number of 4,419 hospitals in India with more than 400,000 beds for patients. Technologies such as Robotic surgery which were unheard of are soon going to become a common sight. X-Ray, CT & MRI scans are the most commonly used technologies by the doctors today.
Since everything has its own disadvantages along with the advantages, medical development and its related services too have shown a negative impact in recent years. It is observed that ample amounts of medical complaints are being filed by the consumers regarding the medical services that they have taken, just because of medical negligence by doctors or care takers.
There have been many consumer complaints registered against hospitals and medical professionals regarding medical negligence, improper diagnosis, unfair billing for medical services and many more. These complaints have increased drastically over the past years in Bangalore, Mumbai, Pune, New Delhi, Chennai and almost all the cities in India.
Over the past few years, medical negligence has become a quite common term. Medical negligence or Medical malpractice, as the term suggests, relates to the process when a medical or health care professional deviates from standards in his or her profession thereby causing grievous injury to the patient.
Medical negligence can be seen in various cases like when reasonable care is not taken during operations, diagnosis or even during the delivery of the child. Many doctors purposely practice medical negligence as a way to extract more money from the patient.
In this article, we have covered the common medical complaints, hospital complaints and complaints against doctors that are faced by patients and how you can resolve them.
But before discussing medical complaints in detail, let's know more about some of the most famous hospitals in India.
Famous Hospitals in India
1. AIIMS, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi
AIIMS has some of the best doctors and all sorts of facilities required in medical research. Not only that, AIIMS is also the foremost as well as prestigious training institute for medical science. Students from all over India come here to study. Even patients from all over India come here for advanced treatment for critical illnesses. The main reason for it is that people who belong to below poverty line can afford the medical expenses here. This is a government hospital which has been also appreciated internationally. India Today Group announced AIIMS as the best hospital in India in 2014.
2. Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, New Delhi
Apollo Hospital is considered as the pioneer of the healthcare services provided all over Asia. Indraprastha Apollo hospital has maintained its excellence in education, research and healthcare to serve humanity better. The main aim of this organization is to provide medical services to its patients that are of international standard. Apollo Hospital is also known for its technological superiority. It is specialized in Cancer treatment, Orthopaedics, Neuro sciences, Organ transplantation, and Cardiac sciences.
3. Christian Medical College, Vellore
Christian Medical College has the foremost position in the field of medical science. The use of latest technologies, providing affordable treatment costs and distinctive features of CMC sanitary measures makes it unique. CMC specializes in advanced therapeutic services, Neuro sciences, Gastroenterology and Haematology. CMC is known for its world-class services related to healthcare which is under the reach of the poor section of the society. It has 2600 beds along with 11 Intensive Care Units (ICUs). There are more than 1500 doctors and more than 9000 medical staff to provide the best service to each patient. CMC has also achieved recognition throughout the world as the medical and research centre.
4. Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai
Tata Memorial Hospital is popular for its well-known cancer treatment. It is situated in Mumbai and is specialized in acute lymphoblastic leukaemia treatment. Tata Memorial Hospital is also called Cancer Research Centre (CRC). Other specialized services provided by the Tata Memorial hospital are blood tests, Operation theatre, Hemato Oncology, ICU and P.E.T scanner. It is associated with the Advanced Centre for Treatment, Research and Education in Cancer or ACTREC. It has been recognized nationally for its world-class treatment, well-equipped infrastructure and latest technologies.
5. Fortis Hospital, Kolkata
Fortis Hospital is situated in Kolkata. It has one of the best advanced medical facilities and possesses world-class infrastructure. It provides 24 hours emergency service to the critical patients. Fortis hospital is specialized in cardiology, nephrology and urology. The Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in the hospital has a Coronary Care Unit, and Medical Intensive Care Unit. The hospital is well-furnished with more than 70 beds. The excellent infrastructure and well-trained doctors and medical staff have made it one of the best hospitals in the country.
6. Lilavati Hospital, Mumbai
Lilavati Hospital is a famous multi specialty hospital in India. The quality of healthcare services has attracted many patients from around the world. The aim of the hospital is to provide its patients more than just treatment and healthcare but also the touch of humanity. It was set up in 1997 and is managed by Lilavati Kirtilal Mehta Medical Trust. It has more than 300 beds and 12 operation theaters in it.
Types of Medical Complaints
We at Voxya generally receive around hundreds of medical complaints every month relating to medical negligence or complaints about doctors exaggerating how they could have performed better or how the patients are being overcharged for the facilities. The most common medical complaints made by patients include poor nursing staff, wrong medicine packages delivered, intentionally looting customers, medical negligence etc. Some of the most common and frequent medical complaints by patients in cities like Mumbai, Bengaluru, New Delhi, Pune and Kolkata are given below:
Medical negligence is the act of performing responsibilities by doctor, surgeon, dentist, nurse and any other medical professional in such a way that it deviates from the accepted standard of medical or healthcare. For an example, if a doctor provides sub-standard treatment in respect to the accepted medical standard, then it would be assumed that the doctor has failed to perform his or her duty and it can be declared as negligence.
There are times when medical negligence becomes medical malpractice when the below standard treatment of the doctor causes any injury to the patient and the condition of the patient becomes worse. Sometimes due to negligence by doctors, unexpected complications arise which requires additional health treatment in order to cure the patient.
Improper diagnosis is one of the most common medical complaints as reported by patients in India. It is said that an improper diagnosis is done when a competent doctor has conducted "differential diagnosis" which could be questioned and opined by the experts in this field.
Firstly a doctor lists the possible medical issues that the patient can have. Then tests are conducted on the patient and finally a possible definitive medical diagnosis would be determined by the doctor. After taking up the diagnosis, if the doctor fails to achieve the expected degree of care, then the patient must prove it. Doctors may fail to achieve the medical standard of care in many ways. For an instance, the doctor might fail to recognize and realize the urgency of one or more possible medical problems and hence delay in the diagnosis & treatment is caused. A nurse could fail to provide appropriate diagnostic medication while altering the patient’s response to the medication and misleading the doctor to assume the wrong conclusion. In such cases, the consumer has the right to file a complaint against the medical professionals as per Consumer Protection Act.
Medicine Delivery issues
Medicine delivery refers to the distribution of medicine through medical professionals, representatives and other kinds of distributors. The most common issue or grievance regarding medicine delivery is that it is not delivered on time.
There are cases when the required medicines are not available at the stores or in the medical institutions. Even there are people who take advantage of this urgency and sell the medicine at a higher rate. Also in today's digital world, patients are buying medicines online but many times they are unable to get these medicines delivered to them on time which causes inconvenience and medical complications. Now-a-days a lot of medicine delivery complaints are filed by consumers who are opting to buy medicines online due to COVID pandemic.
Wrong treatment is another frequent medical complaint, similar to medical negligence by doctor. When an individual opts for services in any medical room, clinic or hospital, the initial step after admission is the diagnosis required. It is critical yet important to diagnose the symptoms correctly and eventually provide proper medical treatment to the patients.
But if the patient is not treated accordingly due to any negligence in the diagnosis, the doctor or the hospital would be liable for any further damages caused as a result of wrong treatment.
There are even cases where wrong treatment has been done intentionally by the doctor or hospital in order to force the patient to take more and more treatments and tests. Also, the medical negligence can result in pursuing the wrong treatment by the medical professionals.
In any of the above circumstances, the medical entities are liable and the patients can register a complaint against any of these issues faced. If the claims of the complaint are found to be justified then further action could be taken with the help of consumer court or consumer forum.
Often it is observed that medical bills do not show the exact reason for which the money was charged. There can be cases where itemized bills show charges that come from nowhere. Some cases are where medical bills show services which were not even provided to the patient or the service is included in the bill but was not informed and was not supposed to be given by the hospital or doctor.
For instance, one patient received a bill for leg surgery that included charges for blood tests of the newborn.
The tricky part applied in these bills is the technical language that most of the people are unaware of. This is why there remains the tendency to overlook the charges which are included falsely. Many times, people do not realize and they just pay for it.
For any of the issues mentioned above, a patient can register a complaint against the hospital or doctor.
How to resolve medical complaints?
To protect the consumer rights in respect to the rights of the patients, Consumer Protection Act (CPA) was formulated in 1986 and the medical profession was brought under the purview of the act in 1995. All the patients who are making payments for any health services were recognized under the definition of “Consumer” in this Act as a step towards consumer protection.
If you have a complaint regarding the improper care in the hospital then you should contact the State Survey Agency. If you have a complaint about the poor conditions of the hospital you can contact the State Department of Health Services. However, if you have a complaint against any particular doctor of the hospital then you should contact the State Medical Board.
In situations where hospitals or medical professionals have ignored and rejected the claims of the consumers, they can exercise their consumer rights and take their case to consumer forums. Consumers can register a complaint in the nearest police station and the State Medical Council.
Moreover, if the main aim of the patient is to seek compensation, then a patient should file a consumer complaint as this way the case can be finished at the earliest possible date.
In order to validate the complaint the consumer needs to collect all the medical records they have received. According to the Medical Council of India, the patient is supposed to get all medical records within 72 hours from the time and date of the appointment.
1. File a complaint with Police & State Medical Council:
A complaint must be filed against any kind of medical negligence with the local police and the State Medical Council. The police are supposed to send it to the State Medical Council first. The Council then checks if the complaint is justified or not and a case is transferred to different consumer courts according to the nature of the case.
If the council finds out that the patient's condition is serious then the doctor’s license is suspended for a particular period and according to proof and witnesses, judgment is given.
If the consumer is not satisfied with the judgment given by the council then it can appeal to the Medical Council of India. If still the consumer is not happy with the judgment then they can appeal for their disputes to the National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission.
2. Send Legal Notice:
A patient can send legal notice to Doctors or Hospitals in case they are unable to resolve his complaint via Medical Council. Taking legal action is one of the efficient ways to handle the issue legally. Check below to know how to send a legal notice to a doctor / hospital?
Step 1: Firstly, get a legal notice drafted by a lawyer.
Step 2: Check it properly and make sure it is signed by a lawyer.
Step 3: Keep a copy of it for future purposes.
Step 4: Send the legal notice to the Doctor / Hospital by registered post.
Step 5: Keep the slip or delivery report for evidence.
3. File consumer forum case:
Consumer forum deals with consumer complaints and you should approach the consumer forum if you feel that your rights as a consumer have been violated. The consumer courts help the patients to get the eligible compensation for the damage caused to them. Please note that consumer courts can not punish the doctor or medical practitioner who is guilty, it can only provide the compensation.
If a doctor or a hospital is not responding to your complaints even after sending legal notice by a lawyer then you should file a case against them in a consumer court.
Here is how you can file a case in the consumer court?
Step 1: Intimate the aggrieved party via legal notice.
Step 2: Draft the consumer complaint
Step 3: Attach all the relevant documents and proofs to support your complaint.
Step 4: Select the appropriate consumer court for filing the complaint.
Step 5: Pay the prescribed court fee that is required to be paid along with the complaint.
Step 6: Submit the case along with the affidavit & fees in the court.
If you feel uncomfortable doing all this yourself, then you should use the services provided by Voxya to take legal action against the doctor or hospital. We can send Legal Notice and prepare a Case for filing in consumer court.