Tuesday, Mar 26, 2002
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By Our Staff Reporter
The Commission confirmed the judgment of the Kozhikode District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, in rejecting the appeal filed by the diagnostic centres.
The complainant, Abdu Samad of Chennamangalam, Kozhikode, was working in a company in Saudi Arabia. He returned to his native place to apply for the company visa. In order to undergo medical check-up, he approached the lab approved by his travel agency, Al-Sharq Diagnostic Centre on December 17, 1997 and paid Rs. 1,000. The diagnosis given was that he was TPHA positive.
Worried, the complainant approached a doctor at the Kozhikode Medical College, who directed him to undergo check-up again at Vindhya Clinical laboratory. He underwent tests on December 22, 1997, and he was pronounced TPHA negative.
He again went back to the Al-Sharq centre on December 24, paid Rs. 150 but was again given an endorsement that he was indeed TPHA positive.
The complainant, on the advice of a skin specialist again had the blood test done at the Regional Public Health Department, and the result was VDRL non-reactive.
Despite these reports, his travel agent again sent him to a sister concern of the first opposite party, Al-Salama Diagnostic Centre, which claimed that he was again TPHA positive. On January 17, 1998, he had the test done at the same centre, which gave the result as TPHA negative.
By this time, the Saudia embassy had closed and he was unable to get the visa. Apart from the loss of his job, he also had to undergo much mental agony and humiliation, the complainant pointed out.
The opposite parties claimed that there was a possibility of two per cent error in such tests and that qualified persons conducted the tests. They said that it was not their fault that the complainant could not complete visa procedures.
The Kozhikode District Forum had held the diagnostic centres guilty of negligence and deficiency of service.
In the appeal, the opposite parties claimed that after the first test done on December 17, the complainant was to have appeared for a re-test on December 24, which he had not done.
But the complainant produced two test results issued by the opposite parties dated December 17 and 24, both of which said that he was TPHA positive.
The Commission pointed out as an aspirant to a job in Saudi Arabia, it was important for the complainant that he get his medical reports right.
Hence, if asked to appear for a re-test, in the normal course he would have definitely done it. The complainant was definitely anxious about the results, for he had in between, sought the medical opinion of a doctor at Kozhikode Medical College, it was pointed out.
The fact remained that while the opposite parties gave the blood test report as TPHA positive, the same tests conducted at several other places by the complainant had been found negative.
The doctors had certified thes tests also.
The opposite parties sent their erroneous report straight to the travel agent, which led to him being certified as `medically unfit' to go abroad.
The Commission held that the forum had been right in ordering the opposite parties to pay Rs. 65,000 as compensation, with interest and Rs. 3,000 as costs.
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