The Siliguri Circuit Bench (SCB) of the West Bengal State Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission (WBSCDRC) has asked one medical practitioner to pay Rs 5 lakh as compensation to his patient for alleged wrong treatment and medical negligence, causing physical injury, mental agony and harassment.
Presiding member of the SCB Subhendu Bhattacharya and member Amal Kumar Mandal have issued an order towards of end of last year after a Class-XI student of Fulbari Higher Secondary School, Samina Khatun, filed a case on 21 January 2021, against a ‘general physician,’ SK Debnath, who had prescribed medicines and allegedly advised her to go for ‘oral chemo’, and two Siliguribased super specialty private hospitals and a sonography centre.
While Mr Debnath had diagnosed Samina’s illness as cancer, doctors in Kolkata had later said she did not suffer from any form of cancer. The SCB has asked Mr Debnath to pay the compensation within 45 days from the date of order. When contacted today, Mr Debnath refused to clarify why the registration number in the letterhead pad for his prescription was missing, where he has mentioned him as “Dr SK Debnath, General Physician, Ex-BMOH” (Block Medical Officer of Health).
“As the matter is sub-judice, I would not comment on it. There was no advice for oral chemo for her from my end. I will fight back now legally,” Mr Debnath said over the phone. Interestingly, Mr Debnath had written the patient’s name as “Amina Khatun” in the prescription, to which the SCB pointed out in its observations as gross medical negligence. “Mr Debnath, basically a local quack, prescribed Methotrexate thrice a day for continuous three months,” a source said.
Notably, despite reminders, Mr Debnath did not respond to the SCB for hearings, and as a result, the victim got an ex-parte order, it is learnt. Significantly, an assistant teacher of the Fulbari Higher Secondary School, Avishek Roy, is known to have helped Samina and fought for her justice after he came to know of the problem the student had been facing.
Mr Roy took up the matter with top officials of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) and sought to know the exact status of Mr Debnath, based on the Right to Information Act. Suffering from skin problems, Samina had consulted Mr Debnath on 5 January 2019.
Mr Debnath prescribed medicines and allegedly advised her to go for “oral chemo” after she was diagnosed of having cancer. It is learnt that Samina fell critically ill after the oral chemotherapy. Mr Roy, in association with a Siliguri-based cancer society, took initiatives for Samina’s better treatment in Kolkata, and doctors in Kolkata finally diagnosed her problem and concluded that she did not have cancer.