Awarding the highest compensation ever in a case of medical negligence in the country, the Supreme Court on Thursday asked a Kolkata hospital and three doctors to Pay Rs 5.96 crore to an NRI doctor, whose wife died in May 1998.
In 2009, the Supreme Court had ordered a record Rs 1 crore in compensation to Bangalore-based software engineer, Prashant Dhananka, who had been left crippled at the age of 20.
In the latest case, a bench of justices SJ Mukhopadhaya and V Gopala Gowda ordered Kolkata’s AMRI hospital and three doctors — , Dr Sukumar Mukherjee, Dr Balram Prasad and Dr Baidyanath Halder — to pay the compensation amount in eight weeks to Dr Kunal Saha for the death of his wife, Anuradha.
Anuradha Saha, a 36-year-old child psychologist, was on a trip to her hometown, Kolkata, when she developed rashes on her skin in April 1998. Dr Mukherjee first asked her to rest it out before prescribing depomedrol injection, 80 mg twice daily. The injection worsened her condition, and she was treated under Dr Mukherjee’s care at he hospital before being moved to Mumbai’s Breach Candy Hospital, where she died of Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis, a rare skin condition, in May 1998. Experts, in the court, faulted the prescription of depomedrol injection.
Dr Saha, an Ohio-based AIDS researcher, fought against the negligence at various forums; in 2011, the National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission, had awarded a compensation of Rs 1.7 crore to Dr Saha, who pursued the matter further as he was not satisfied with the Commission’s decision.
The apex court on Thursday raised the compensation amount. It asked Dr Mukherjee and Dr Prasad to pay Rs 10 lakh each and Dr Halder to pay Rs. 5 lakh in compensation. The rest of the amount, along with interest at the rate of six per cent, will have to be paid by the hospital, the apex court said, adding that a compliance report be filed after the compensation has been paid.