SC asks AMRI to pay Rs 5.96 crore compensation
New Delhi, 24 October
In a landmark judgment, the Supreme Court today directed Kolkata-based AMRI Hospital to pay Rs 5.96 crore compensation to NRI doctor Kunal Saha for medical negligence resulting in the death of his wife Anuradha Saha in 1988.
Holding three doctors—Balram Prasad, Sukumar Mukherjee, Baidyanath Halder—of the hospital guilty of negligence, the apex court enhanced compensation paid to Kunal Saha from Rs 1.73 crore to Rs 5.96 crore for the death of his wife at the age 36 due to maltreatment.
A two-judge Bench of justices S J Mukhopadhaya and V Gopala Gowda directed AMRI Hospital and the three doctors to pay the amount within eight weeks to Dr Saha, an Ohio-based AIDS researcher.
Justice V Gopala Gowda passed the order on an appeal by Saha, who had challenged the compensation of Rs 1.72 crore awarded by National Consumer Forum. This is the highest compensation ever paid in a medical negligence case in India. The doctors who were found guilty of medical negligence have been directed to pay Rs 25 lakh to Dr Kunal Saha; Dr Prasad and Dr Mukherjee will have to pay Rs 10 lakh each, while Dr Halder will have to pay Rs 5 lakh. The rest of the money has to be paid by the management of the AMRI Hospital where Dr Anuradha Saha, herself an NRI doctor, died in May 1998.
The apex court also asked the hospital to pay an interest at the rate of six per cent to Dr Saha. The National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission (NCDRC) in 2011 had awarded Rs 1.73 crore to the doctor.
Dr Anuradha Saha had died due to medical negligence while on a visit to Kolkata in May 1998. The couple was holidaying in Kolkata when Anuradha contracted Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis, which the NCDRC termed a “rare and deadly disease”. The late Anuradha showed symptoms of rashes over her body and received treatment as an outdoor patient until 10 May 1998.
On 11 May 1998, she was admitted to the AMRI in Kolkata, where she was treated till 16 May 1998. As her condition did not improve, she was shifted to a hospital in Mumbai by an air ambulance. She died on 28 May 1998 following complications from an alleged overdose of steroids that had been administered in Kolkata. In a mail from USA, Dr Saha hailed the order as historic. AMRI is waiting for a copy of order.