#LegallySpeaking: Medicolegal Tip
~ Pyrexia of unknown origin (PUO) is not a Psychiatric disease. Hence, doctors are not liable to pay compensation.
~ Referring a patient to higher centre is not a negligence.
• Facts of the case:
~ Patient (his wife) was initially alleged to be diagnosed as Pyrexia of unknown origin (PUO).
~ But day by day, there was no progress and hence she was referred to a Neurologist, who after CT Scan etc. opined it as the case of Meningitis.
• Patient's allegation:
~ Complainant alleged that due to initial wrong diagnosis and wrong treatment by the doctors, his wife's medical condition did not improve and succumbed to death. Hence, he filed the case of Rs.30 lakhs.
• Doctors and Hospital Version:
~ The treatment given was as per standard practice and correct
~ PUO is not a psychiatric disease.Thus, it was a misinterpretation that the patient was given psychiatric treatment.
~ Properly examined the patient and suspected it as a case of Meningitis/Encephalitis/ Enteric Encephalopathy. Therefore, proper treatment was started with higher antibiotics.
~ Patient also concealed previous medication at the time of admission.
~ Patient was referred to higher centre.
• Findings of the court:
~ The Commission ruled in favour of Doctors.
~ Patient was treated properly for meningitis, which is also one of the causes of PUO. The treatment was not for psychiatric disease.
~ It should be borne in mind that, pyrexia is not a psychiatric disease.
~ Therefore, the treatment given by doctors was for infection, i.e correctly treated.
~ Also, the referral of patient to higher center cannot be taken as negligent referral.