In other words, a doctor with only an MBBS degree performing surgery or treating for disorders that require the specialised knowledge of a surgeon, can be prosecuted for deficiency in service.
The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) passed the ruling acting on a complaint of Surendra Kumar Tyagi against one Dr S K Sharma, who claimed to be a Master in Surgery and operated upon Tyagi. It resulted in permanent damage to one of his kidneys.
The Commission enhanced the compensation amount to Rs 2.5 lakhs as against one lakh awarded by the UP State Commission.
"Doctor though proclaimed himself to be MS (Master in Surgery) but was in fact not so qualified that would clearly amount that he had misrepresented to the complainant for that reason other similarly situated persons and prospective patients about his real qualification and experience.
"This is another deficiency in service or what we can term as adoption of unfair trade practice -– unethical practice on the part of a medical professional," the Commission bench comprising Members R C Jain and S Chandra said.
Tyagi had approached the apex forum seeking enhancement of compensation awarded by the Uttar Pradesh State Commission against Dr Sharma and Jagat Nursing Home & Hospital, Meerut.
Allowing the appeal of Tyagi, the Commission said the compensation awarded in cases of misrepresentation and negligence should be proportionate with the loss and injury suffered and cannot be arbitrary.
"For the kind of negligence, deficiency in service and the misrepresentation made by the doctor, award of compensation of Rs one lakh only cannot be considered as reasonable or commensurate with the loss, injury and mental and physical pain and agony suffered by the complainant," it said.