ECHS blamed for 'faulty treatment' given to retired honorary flying officer

In an alleged case of medical negligence by Ex-servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS) polyclinics, a retired honorary flying officer, Raghava Kaimal (70), was given faulty treatment for the last four years.

Honorary Flying Officer Raghava reported to the ECHS Polyclinic, Pune, in 2008 for a problem in his throat. The ECHS referred him for an opinion to ENT Specialist of Command Hospital, Pune. The opinion was that the problem was due to acidity and so he started medicines for acidity.

Unhappy with ECHS: Raghava Kaimal, the 70-year-old retired honorary flying officer, at Ruby Hall Clinic. Pic/Krunal Gosavi

On April 7, 2012, he again reported to ECHS Delhi and was referred to the empanelled Kailash Hospital, Noida. Even there he was told by Dr (Col) KL Pawa, a former defence officer, that the pain was due to acidity.

“From May 15 to May 17, 2012, he got checked in Ruby Hall, where he came to know he is suffering from throat cancer and that it is about to enter the second stage. He then immediately reported this case to ECHS Polyclinic, Pune, and showed all reports to Dr (Col) Hegde who referred him to ENT Specialist in Command Hospital again and completely overlooked Ruby Hall’s medical reports,” Sunil Kaimal, the patient’s son, said.

Anoop Awasthi, a retired navy officer, said: “We’ve been fighting for the ECHS for one month and now this case makes us think about the trustworthiness of this scheme for treatment of ex-servicemen. When Ruby Hall report clearly says it’s a case of cancer, why hasn’t ECHS referred him to Ruby Hall for immediate treatment, considering the seriousness of the case?”

A Southern Command official said: “Contention of neglect of non-detection of first stage cancer cannot be attributed to neglect at ECHS. The individual was given treatment for whatever he was diagnosed with and is the domain of the medical specialist. Non-referral back to Ruby Hall directly after Ruby Hall’s latest diagnostics notwithstanding, the individual’s interests will be addressed as per laid down procedures. Charges for all ailments are laid down by Central Government for all Central Government employees, which is applicable to ECHS also. Ruby Hall is a National Accreditation Board of Hospital accredited hospital and empanelled with ECHS Polyclinic and Regional Centre Pune. Patients are being treated by the hospital regularly. The matter regarding refusal for treatment at ECHS rates has not been reported to the ECHS Polyclinic Pune or the Regional Centre and is being authenticated.” 

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