Dental clinic told to pay compensation, punitive damages to patient

A district consumer commission directed a dental clinic to refund ₹50,000, pay ₹25,000 as compensation and another ₹20,000 as punitive damages to an octogenarian, who sought further treatment after his toothache remained even after multiple dental procedures.

The commission held that the clinic ‘prevented’ the complainant from meeting the doctor, which amounts to deficiency in service.

The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission Hyderabad - I was dealing with a complaint filed by Raja Rao. The opposite party was Sri Sai Tooth Basics Cosmetic & Surgical Dental Clinic.The complainant stated that he went to the clinic and the doctor advised root canal, fixing of crowns, and gum cutting, and other associated treatments for ₹50,000. However, four days after the procedure, the pain returned. The complainant went to the doctor a second time and underwent treatment, but stated that the treatment ‘failed’ again. When he went to the clinic for the third time, he was informed that the doctor would speak to him over the phone, but did not answer his call.

Interestingly, while dealing with the evidence and arguments placed on record, the commission pointed out that the opposite party’s written version did not carry the seal of the commission.

“Therefore, it is suspected that the said document is inserted not at the appropriate time and the copy of the same was not served to the other side and under these circumstances, this letter not amounting to written version is not taken into account,” the commission stated.

“Receiving payment, providing treatment first time, preventing the complainant from consulting the earlier doctor, despite issuance of warranty card, certainly amount to deficiency in service and unfair trade practice for which the opposite party is held liable,” the commission noted, adding that despite receiving a notice, the opposite party remained absent for rebutting the evidence which the complainant produced.

“For the improper treatment, resulting in pain and financial loss, the doctor of the opposite party clinic, and the opposite party clinic are held liable by application of doctrine of vicarious liability,” the commission stated.

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Printable version | May 25, 2022 5:52:28 pm |