Mumbai: In the first ever compensation awarded in a harassment case against a patient, the Supreme Court today asked a patient Deepak Kumar to pay a whopping Rs 10 Lakhs along with interest to a Mumbai-based doctor Arun Swaminathan who had a mental breakdown during the patients prolonged consultation with him, which included the patient’s doubts and claims of become a half doctor within few hours by reading about his symptoms on the internet.
It is a well known fact that patients these days visit their doctor and lighten their wallets only when their symptoms worsen after trying all free treatment options from websites like PubMed.com, WebMD.com, etc, and not before openly & loudly updating their concerned relative on phone, “Saala doctor bahut paise charge karta hai”.
Deepak with complains of hair loss in June, had consulted Dr Swaminathan, who, without prescribing any medicine, rightly asked him to apply Baba Ramdev’s hair oil and stop masturbating for a few weeks.
As hair loss became more aggressively by July, Dr. Swaminathan prescribed Dabur Chavanprash twice daily, but Deepak started using Minoxidil after looking up on Google, a step which was later faulted by expert dermatologists from Bihar at the apex court.
With time, patient’s questions after reading things online become so vague that Swaminathan started pulling his own hair, and gradually stopped taking gifts from MRs or cuts for referrals and started prescribing only generic drugs.
Dr. Swaminathan had then filed a criminal case against the patient for mental harassment on the ground that the patient was grossly negligent in his Google search and the patient asking silly, stupid questions had lead to the doctor’s mental breakdown and in his plea, had demanded a record Rs.1 crore as compensation.
Terming the verdict as “historic”, Dr. Swaminathan in an email told The Quackdoc, “Patients have now become a question bank like Paresh Raval from the film ‘Judaai’. This verdict will send a strong message to all tech-savvy patients that are infuriating innocent doctors like me every day with their half enlightened knowledge from Google.”
The Mumbai doctor’s association has meanwhile unanimously decided to use a notice board at all polyclinic and hospital’s entrance stating – “When you can pay for extra butter and sambhar in a restaurant, patients with doubts from Google will also be charged extra.”
Yes google treatment can lead to serious health problem. More problem is the loss of trust.