Times of India
08 September 2010
By Ram Parmar
Fourteen pathological laboratories operating in the Mira–Bhayandar area have come under the scanner of the local civic body for lying about the total number of dengue cases in the area.
Within a fortnight in August, 60 dengue cases were reported from the two cities after patients’ blood samples had been tested at local pathological laboratories.
However, when the Mira–Bhayandar Municipal Corporation (MBMC) sent 60 of these samples for a re–test at Byculla’s J J Hospital, all of them tested negative for the disease.
MBMC has now issued a show cause notice to the 14 labs for creating unnecessary panic.
MBMC’s deputy commissioner Sambhaji Panpatte said, "We were alarmed at hearing that 60 people tested positive for dengue in our area in such a short period. We decided to send the samples to J J for a second opinion." "Imagine our surprise when all the samples tested negative, proving that the private laboratories had fudged the reports," he added.
"We have issued notices to the labs, asking them to explain their testing methods. We have also asked them to tell us why we shouldn’t penalise them [for fudging the reports] by revoking their licence," Panpatte said.
An MBMC source said it’s possible that patients already admitted to the hospital for a minor ailment may have asked the labs to fudge the reports.
"By claiming to be suffering from dengue, they can show higher expenses and claim more money in medical insurance, since it takes at least one week to recover from the disease and the medicines too cost a lot more," the source added.
Panpatte added that once they get replies to the show cause notice, they will check on the patients’ involvement in the matter.
Sources said pharmacies are hand in glove with some private hospitals wherein doctors falsely prescribe medicines for dengue, helping the patient make a false insurance claim.
Dr Niranjan Agrawal, who runs the Salasar Hospital in Bhayander (E), which features in the MBMC list, said, "All tests were conducted using the latest technology. However, we will reply to the commissioner’s notice within the specified period."