‘Failure to furnish medical records amounts to deficiency in service’
Failure to furnish medical records to a person after treatment amounts to deficiency in service on the part of the hospital, according to the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission.
The Commission dismissed an appeal by Apollo Hospital against a district consumer forum’s order directing it to pay compensation of Rs. 1 lakh for not furnishing medical records of a patient.
According to the complainant, V. Govindan, his wife underwent treatment at the hospital from 2002 to 2007. She subsequently died. Later, he requested the hospital to supply certain documents relating to her treatment for the period July 22, 2007 to August 19, 2007.
When the hospital failed to furnish the documents even after being sent a legal notice, he filed a complaint with the consumer forum.
In 2008, the district consumer disputes redressal forum, Chennai (north), directed the hospital to furnish the medical records and pay compensation. Aggrieved by the order, Apollo Hospital filed the present appeal.
Reiterating the requirement of medical documents, the complainant’s counsel said that as per the rules and regulations of Medical Council of India, hospital authorities must furnish the documents required, within 72 hours from the time of request. As it was not complied with, there was deficiency in service on the part of the hospital.
Stating the hospital was not in a position to disclose the fate of documents, the Bench said: “The opposite party stating that they are a world renowned and prestigious hospital, it is surprising to note they do not maintain vital medical records.”