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Can I take legal action against a hospital for wrong diagnosis?

Q: I took my mother to a hospital as she had a severe abdominal pain. Her blood and urine was tested. She also underwent an x-ray and ultrasound. None of the tests could detect the problem. However, I was unsatisfied with the diagnosis. I therefore took my mother to a private doctor and showed him the results given by the hospital. He found that my mother's glucose level was 309 and diagnosed her with diabetes. This was never mentioned by the hospital. Can I take any legal actions against the hospital?

A:I suggest you to request your private doctor to determine the cause of severe abdominal pain and treatment for it. This is the principal problem faced by your mother. As regards the blood sugar, you need to be sure that the high reading is not a consequence of intravenous infusion of glucose. At times when there is severe abdominal pain and the patient cannot take any food or liquid by mouth, the doctor may give fluids, salts and sugar intravenously to meet the patient's requirements. If indeed, she was given intravenous glucose that may explain the high blood sugar reading. You might like to recheck her blood sugar, fasting and post-lunch, after she has recovered from the present illness. If you confirm the presence of diabetes mellitus, it might be wise to discuss this with the hospital where the blood sugar was originally checked and find out from them why they did not point out the abnormality to your mother or to you. If you fail to get a satisfactory explanation, you could consider making a complaint to the head of the hospital concerned. If you continue to experience frustration at their inaction, you could approach the Consumer Court.

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