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Kolkata: West Bengal Clinical Establishment Regulatory Commission has fined an upscale private nursing home in Kolkata for diagnosing a newlywed woman with a mental disorder when she was actually suffering after food got stuck in her airway tube.

The Commission, in its order dated 11 September, has directed Desun Hospital at EM Bypass in the city to pay her a fine of Rs 15,000 within 15 days. It has also cautioned psychiatrist Sujata Ghosh attached to the hospital to be careful before labelling anyone of having “major depressive disorder”.

The newlywed woman, who was diagnosed with the mental disorder, is Mousumi Poddar (27). On 20 November last year, some food particles got stuck in the airway tube of Mousumi as she was simultaneously talking to her mother-in-law while eating lunch.

She soon started betraying symptoms of respiratory distress such as stridor, cough, vomiting, etc. Alarmed by this, her family rushed her to Desun Hospital and there, she was straightway admitted to the ICU.

During her stay, Mousumi was made to undergo numerous tests and was treated by as many as five doctors having specialisation in different areas. Psychiatrist Sujata Ghosh even diagnosed the newlywed with “major depressive disorder” and made her consume anti-depressant medicines. This is despite her having no history of depression.

Mousumi was discharged by Desun Hospital on 24 November and in the discharge certificate, it was mentioned that she was treated for depression. The hospital charged a bill of Rs 49,115 for the four-day hospitalisation.

The mention of depression in the discharge certificate made the Star Health Insurance Company, with whom Mousumi was maintaining a medical insurance, refuse to pay her the insurance claim.

Aggrieved at being diagnosed with a mental disorder that led to the rejection of the insurance claim, Mousumi filed a complaint with the Clinical Establishment Regulatory Commission. She mentioned that by labelling her mentally distressed, the hospital and the doctor had almost jeopardised her conjugal life.

The Commission summoned separate affidavits from the hospital and all the five doctors. On examining the affidavits and the complaint filed by Mousumi, it concluded that there is a discrepancy in fees charged by the doctors, overcharging on some counts, and inapt diagnosis by psychiatrist Sujata Ghosh.

In the order signed by the Commission chairperson justice Ashim Kumar Roy, apart from slapping the fine, the doctors have been advised to be cautious of “overenthusiastic referral to various specialists and tests without appropriate clinical judgement and decision.”

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