Kolkata AMRI Hospital and three doctors to pay Rs 5.96 crore as compensation to NRI
Agencies, New Delhi:
The Apex court has ordered the maximum compensation in a case relating to medical negligence today, in which Court ordered Kolkata based AMRIHospital and his three doctors to compensate Rs 5.96 crore. The Hospital and Three doctors will pay this compensation to an Indo-American Kunal Saha for medical negligence that led to his wife’s death in 1998.
A bench of justices S J Mukhopadhaya and V Gopala Gowda asked the hospital and three doctors to pay the amount within eight weeks to Kunal Saha, also a doctor based in Ohio. Saha’s wife, Anuradha, had come to Kolkata in March 1998 on a summer vacation. She complained of skin rashes on April 25 and consulted Dr Sukumar Mukherjee, who, without prescribing any medicine, simply asked her to take rest.
As rashes reappeared more aggressively on May 7, 1998, Mukherjee prescribed Depomedrol injection 80 mg twice daily, a step which was later faulted by experts at the apex court.
After administration of the injection, Anuradha’s condition deteriorated rapidly following which she had to be admitted at AMRI on May 11 under Mukherjee’s supervision.
Following his wife’s death, Kunal launched his fight against medical negligence. He later formed People for Better Treatment (PBT) to make his crusade into a mass movement and filed cases against three doctors and the AMRI hospital, where Anuradha was treated before being shifted to the BreachCandyHospital in Mumbai, where she died from the TEN (Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis) syndrome.
In 2009, the SC found the AMRI hospital guilty of medical negligence and referred the case to the National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission (NCDRC), which had fixed the compensation amount to Rs. 1.7 crore.
The NCDRC asked three Kolkata doctors and the AMRI to share the compensation amount.
The deceased’s husband, however, claimed that the compensation amount, along with interest since 1998, should be Rs. 200 crore and moved the SC.
On Thursday, the apex court decided on his plea and enhanced the compensation to Rs. 5.96 crore.
The court said out of the total compensation amount, Dr Balram Prasad and Dr Sukumar Mukherjee will pay Rs. 10 lakh each and Dr Baidyanath Halder will have to pay Rs. 5 lakh to Saha within eight weeks.
The rest of the amount, along with the interest, will be paid by the hospital, the apex court said, adding that a compliance report be filed before it after the payment of the compensation amount.
Reacting to the SC order, Mukherjee said: “The national consumer forum had ordered me to pay a compensation of Rs. 40.40 lakh to Dr Kunal Saha. So I have got a big relief from the apex court. The supreme court in its own wisdom has given such relief.”
Representatives of AMRIHospital, however, refused to comment. “We have not yet received the copy of the order. As and when we do, we would comment,” said a representative of the Emami Group that runs the AMRIHospital now.
Saha got the Supreme Court court order after a long and seemingly impossible legal battle for more than a decade-and-a-half.