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SC asks AMRI hospital to pay Rs 6 cr compensation

In a case of medical negligence, the Supreme Court has awarded the highest ever compensation of over Rs six crores along with interest at the rate of six per cent from the date of filing of the case in 1999 to a US-based doctor Kunal Saha. The apex court termed the verdict as a ‘deterrent and a reminder to those doctors, hospitals, nursing homes and others who do not take their responsibility seriously.’

The compensation amount would be shared by Kolkata-based Advanced Medicare and Research Institute (AMRI) and three doctors who had treated the patient. The apex court said that the amount has to be paid to Saha in eight weeks. The court arrived at a figure of Rs 6.08 crore compensation after considering various aspects such as loss of income of the deceased, loss of consortium, pain and suffering. The apex court said that compliance report has to be filed after the payment of compensation.

A bench comprising of Justice C K Prasad and Justice V Gopala Gowda said that out of the total amount, three of the two treating doctors – Dr Balram Prasad and Dr Sukumar Mukherjee – will pay Rs 10 lakh each and Dr Baidyanath Haldar will pay Rs five lakh to Saha. The rest of the amount, along with interest, will be paid by the hospital.

Saha had lost his wife Anuradha Saha, a child psychologist, while on India visit in 1998. She had complained of skin rashes on 25 April and died on 28 May 1998. She was admitted at AMRI after her condition deteriorated rapidly. One of the doctors prescribed an injection and it was administered to her. After her condition did not improve, she was flown to Breach Candy Hospital Mumbai where she was found to be suffering from a rare and deadly skin disease Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis (TEN) syndrome.

Saha alleged wrong diagnosis, drug overdose and improper monitoring and treatment. After his wife’s death, he filed case against three  doctors and AMRI hospital.

‘Before parting with the judgement, we are inclined to mention that the number of medical negligence cases against doctors, hospitals and nursing homes in the consumer forum are increasing day by day,’ the bench said.
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