dna exclusive: Mumbai woman wrongly diagnosed and operated for breast cancer sues doctor

Wednesday, 29 January 2014 - 7:00am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA
  • For representational purpose only.

A 37-year-old woman from Navi Mumbai lost one of her breasts after doctors wrongly diagnosed her as suffering from breast cancer and advised her to get the 'infected' breast surgically removed.
She has now filed a case in the consumer court demanding a compensation of Rs50 lakh from Dr Jairaj's Hospital in Belapur where she was diagnosed and operated upon.
Alka Koli first complained of chest pain in 2012. Her husband, Rajendra, 40, an autorickshaw driver, took her to Dr Jairaj's Hospital. "Dr Rajeev Jairaj Rao told me that there was a lesion in the left breast and it needed to be investigated," Alka told dna on Tuesday. "Accordingly, they took a specimen and sent it to the in-house laboratory for a histopathology test. The report said I had breast cancer.

"Dr Rajeev advised immediate surgical removal of the breast to prevent the cancer from spreading to other parts of the body. Dr Prashant Athale carried out the surgery in November 2012."
She was then asked to undergo chemotherapy. Since Dr Jairaj's Hospital did not have chemo facility, she was told to go to MGM Hospital in Vashi. But MGM doctors told her that they did not trust the cancer diagnosis of Dr Jairaj's Hospital. They asked her to get a second opinion from the Tata Memorial Cancer Hospital in Parel.
But Alka who has two small children — an eight-year-old daughter and a nine-year-old son — could not go all the way from Belapur to Parel leaving her children back home. Her husband Rajendra, who earns about Rs200 daily, too could not afford to lose the income.

Since time was running out, MGM doctors started Alka on chemotherapy even as they ensured that a breast specimen was sent to Tata hospital for reinvestigation.
Rajendra had the shock of his life when he went to Tata hospital to collect the report. The report said Alka did not have cancer. She went into a shock when she heard the news.
"I never thought Dr. Jairaj's Hospital would cheat me. I trusted the doctors there and in the process lost my breast. I was treated for cancer without actually suffering from it," she said. Alka was bedridden for 10 months because of chemotherapy.

Rajendra said the treatment has ruined him financially. He spent nearly Rs7 lakh on treatment; of which he had to borrow Rs5 lakh. "I looked upon the doctors at Dr. Jairaj's Hospital like gods and look what they did to my wife. I am determined to get justice."
"When I told doctors there about the Tata hospital's report, they said it was just not possible. They were not the least bit sorry for the wrong diagnosis and treatment," Rajendra said. "We told them to discuss the matter with Tata hospital doctors. They promised but did nothing. My wife's health is permanently ruined. But I will teach the doctors at Dr Jairaj's Hospital a lesson."
Dr Prashant Athale, who is attached with Dr Jairaj's Hospital, told dna that he removed the breast based on the hospital's histopathology report. "After the Tata hospital's report, we have decided to seek a third opinion," he said.

Dr Rajeev Jairaj Rao, son of Dr Jairaj Rao, whose family runs the Dr Jairaj's Hospital, said he could not say anything because the matter is sub judice. He, however, termed the incident 'unfortunate'. "We are even ready to compensate if their demand is reasonable," he said.

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