Man misdiagnosed with HIV, kin spend Rs 1L for truth

Man misdiagnosed with HIV, kin spend Rs 1L for truth

Relatives of patients misdiagnosed by doctors present roses to Pankaj Kumar Pandey, Commissioner, Health and Family Welfare, for the delay in enforcing the KPME Act in Bengaluru on Saturday. (DH PHOTO/RANJU P)

Rajanna’s was a simple life until recently. He ran a small tea stall in Davangere to provide for his family. But things changed dramatically when took his ailing father, Alappa (60), to a nearby hospital for a medical check-up. 

What could have been a simple check-up turned out to be a nightmare as the hospital misdiagnosed him as being HIV-positive. The panicked family ran from pillar to post for a second opinion, praying that their worst fears don’t come true. They brought Alappa to Bengaluru and consulted doctors at Bhagawan Mahaveer Jain Hospital and MS Ramaiah Hospital. After spending close to Rs 1 lakh, it was declared that Alappa was not HIV-positive. 

“It was a mental trauma for the entire family,” Rajanna said. “I have been trying to file a complaint with the District Health Officer against the irresponsible hospital and the doctor but nobody is taking action.”  Representatives of the health rights movement, Karnataka Janaarogya Chaluvali, say Alappa’s is not a one-off case. Hundreds of such patients and their families are suffering owing to the negligence of doctors and the authorities, they said. 

The organisation is fighting for the enforcement of the Karnataka Private Medical Establishments Act, 2007, which seeks to regulate hospitals. 

“The non-implementation of this law means many patients suffer at the hands of doctors and spend money,” said Vijay Kumar Seethappa, the organisation’s convenor. 

On Saturday, the organisation adopted a novel method to protest the official apathy towards the law. Its members met Pankaj Kumar Pandey, Commissioner, Health and Family Welfare and Ayush Services, and “felicitated” him by presenting a “gift-wrapped” memorandum with roses. 

An embarrassed Pandey said he would take necessary action about cases where patients and their families suffered. He also promised steps for enforcing the KPME Act after holding discussions with other officials.