U.S.-based Indian doctor died at AMRI hospital in Kolkata in 1998

The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) has awarded a compensation of Rs. 1. 77 crore towards medical negligence against AMRI hospital, Kolkata and three doctors for causing the death of Anuradha Saha, wife of Kunal Saha, a U.S.-based Indian doctor.

Anuradha, a qualified child psychologist, died in the hospital on May 28, 1998 during a social visit to India after she suffered Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis, a rare and deadly disease. (TEN is an exfoliative dermatological disorder of unknown cause. A patient with TEN loses epidermis in sheet-like fashion leaving extensive areas or denuded dermis that must be treated like a large, superficial, partial-thickness burn wound.)

According to the order, this compensation includes Rs. 41,90,000 each against AMRI Hospital and Dr. Sukumar Mukherjee and Rs. 26,93,000 each against Dr. Baidyanath Halder and Dr. Balaram Prasad.

The Supreme Court in 2009 had found these three doctors and Dr. Abani Roychowdhury responsible for Anuradha's death and remanded this case back to the NCDRC only for determination of the quantum of compensation.

Since Dr. Roychowdhury died during the hearing of this case, the Commission deducted 25 per cent from this compensation amount. Further the Commission reduced 10 per cent of the amount for alleged interference by the complainant Dr. Kunal Saha in Anuradha's treatment.

Claim rejected

The Commission rejected Dr. Saha's claim for a total compensation of about Rs. 97 crore and said “a complainant cannot be allowed to get undue enrichment by making a fortune out of a misfortune.” Though initially Dr. Saha claimed Rs. 77 crore, later he revised his claim.

It said: “The theoretical opinion/assessment made by a Foreign Expert as to the future income of a person and situation prevalent in that country cannot form a sound basis for determination of future income of such person and the Commission has to work out the income of the deceased having regard to her last income and future prospects in terms of the criteria laid down by the Supreme Court.”

Reacting to this order, Dr. Saha expressed disappointment and said: “In order to fight this enormous legal battle for the past more than 12 years staying in America, apart from sacrificing my personal and professional lives, I have spent far more than the Rs. 1.77 crore that has been awarded by the NCDRC for the loss of a human life after this long-drawn legal battle.”