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After a wait of 10 years, the South Mumbai Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum recently directed the doctors and the Bombay Hospital & Medical Research Centre to grant a compensation of Rs 5 lakh to a woman who contracted a life-threatening virus after undergoing a hysterectomy.
In July 2007, 53 year old Ms MD had a hysterectomy performed at the hospital and in September the same year, she developed Hepatitis ‘C’ (itching, fever and yellow eyes). She sought a compensation of Rs 19.71 lakh from the respondents.
The forum held that Ms. Diwakar suffered from Hepatitis C, and has to take regular drugs and medicines to control it, for which she has to bear the medical expenses. She is suffering from heavy financial loss as well as mental torture and her reputation in society is also badly affected. The doctors and the hospital were held guilty of deficiency in service and medical negligence. It said she needs to receive Rs 5 lakh as “token compensation for the grave irreversible and irreparable mental agony, life-long restrictions, financial losses, loss of reputation in society and risk to family members caused by gross medical negligence.”
The hospital and doctors were directed to pay Rs10,000 as litigation costs to the family while the hospital has to pay Rs56,000 towards reimbursement of bills.
- The global prevalence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, as reflected by anti-HCV antibody positivity, is around 2.8% i.e. at any given time 2.8% people will be positive for hepatitis C.
- In hospital setting, the transmission of hepatitis C it can occur via unsafe syringe or with unsafe blood transfusion
- Infection can also be acquired by unsafe sex. You can be positive at the time of hospitalisation and acquire it after discharge with unsafe sex.
- Most cases of acute hepatitis C infection are anicteric and asymptomatic; only less than 25% cases have clinically apparent infection. Fulminant hepatitis C is rare.
- The window period for HCV is 6 to 9 weeks from the moment the person became infected. Hepatitis C antibody test during the window period yields a negative result.
- All cases of acute hepatitis C may not progress to chronic hepatitis (infection that persists for more than 6 months).
- Treatment is required only after six months if person develops hepatitis C.
- Hepatitis C is curable today.
- There is no way to tell that the person acquired hepatitis during a particular admission unless you show at the time of admission the person was negative for both hepatitis C antibodies and HCV RNA test.
- This was an interested case to have been fought on scientific basis.
Dr KK Aggarwal
Padma Shri Awardee
President Elect Confederation of Medical Associations in Asia and Oceania (CMAAO)
Group Editor-in-Chief IJCP Publications
President Heart Care Foundation of India
Past National President IMA