Vijaya Diagnostic Centre of Hyderabad ordered to pay for erratic test results

Hyderabad: Vijaya Diagnostic Centre (VDC) was ordered to pay Rs. 50,000 compensation to a complainant suffering from COVID – 19 and had complained to the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (DCDRC) Hyderabad – I of severe inconsistencies in D – Dimer test readings.

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P Nagarjun Reddy, a 33-year-old Chief Executive Officer, complained to the DCDRC that he tested positive for COVID – 19 on April 4, 2021, and began treatment on the same day. On the doctor’s advice, he underwent a series of tests, including D – Dimer, on April 16. The test reported high readings. Due to this, his doctor advised strong medication. Reddy got another test done on April 18, and the report showed abnormally high values. Later, the doctors prescribed stronger medication. Suspecting incorrect test reports, Reddy went to another diagnostic centre and underwent a D – Dimer test. The test report showed low readings.

Reddy alleged that VDC wrongly reported D – Dimer test readings which led to the doctors prescribing him stronger medication, including steroids that led to weight gain.

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In their written version, VDC denied all allegations. They stated that the issue involved complex medical questions. It cannot be resolved in a “time-bound summary” proceeding. Apart from the D – Dimer test, Reddy underwent half-a-dozen other tests. VDC submitted that COVID – 19 patients showing high D – Dimer test readings were not uncommon. Standard safety protocols were followed during the D – Dimer test, VDC stated.

Interestingly, VDC admitted that they did not possess the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) by Chemiluminescence Immuno Assay (CLIA) method accreditation, as Reddy underscored in his complaint. Given this, VDC said they had deactivated the NABL logo. VDC then submitted that they possess accreditation for performing D – Dimer tests using the Latex Agglutination method.

The DCDRC noted that while VDC said that they do not have NABL accreditation to perform the D – Dimer test using the CLIA method, the diagnostic centre proceeded to test Reddy using the same method. The DCDRC saw this as a “deviation” in assessing quality. The DCDRC also highlighted that there was no evidence showing VDC had correlated D – Dimer test results and other relevant clinical parameters, which they claimed. The DCRDC also described the different D – Dimer readings as erratic. Evidence was not provided to support the claim that NABL-prescribed standard operating procedures were followed. Not being NABL accredited and performing the D – Dimer test using the CLIA method was a deviation, the DCRDC stated.

DCRDC imposed a cost of Rs. 10,000 on VDC as well.

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