A three-judge bench of Kolkata District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum passed a historic judgment holding the Apollo Gleneagles Hospital in Kolkata and two of their doctors, Dr. Asoke Sengupta (Surgeon) and Dr. Srijita Ghosh Sen (Radiologist) guilty for causing mental agony and harassment to a patient through unethical and negligent therapy. This case was fought by PBT on behalf of the hapless victim from a remote village in West Bengal as PBT president, Dr. Kunal Saha, personally appeared before the court (during his last trip to India) and argued the case against the powerful Apollo Gleneagles Hospital. The Consumer Court made numerous scathing observations in regard to the incompetent and unethical doctors as well as the unfair trade practice that the Apollo hospital has been involved only to cheat the innocent patients (see the judgment below).
The victim in this case did not die or suffered any permanent injuries but he suffered endless mental as well as physical harassment due to the greed by the Apollo doctors. The Kolkata doctors recommended needless investigations (CT and X-ray) but did not bother to explain that the patient was not affected with any serious illness. Fearing for life, the victim rushed to Mumbai Tata Cancer Center where he was clearly told that he had nothing to be worried. Since there was no real physical injury suffered by the victim, the court granted a compensation of Rs. 40,000/- (Forty thousands) for pain and suffering including Rs. 10,000/- as “litigation cost” to be paid, jointly and severally, by the Apollo Hospital and the two guilty doctors. In addition, the court has also directed that if the hospital and two doctors fail to pay the compensation within 1 month from the date of the Judgment, i.e. 30th September, 2015, they will have to pay additional “penal damages” at the rate of Rs. 200/- each day.
After holding the Apollo Gleneagles Hospital and two doctors guilty, the court also made numerous scathing and remarkable observations underscoring the greed and lack of compassion by the hospital/doctors some of which are reproduced below:
(page 15) “…….we are convinced that the entire part of examination and opinion of the Dr. Asok Sengupta is against ethics of medical science and it is not proper type of prescription, such a prescription is not even written by the Quack doctors……this is the position of the Apollo Gleneagles Hospital, their doctors who are there only for collecting money, squeezing money by different methods but treatment is ‘zero’ and that is the fundamental medical trade to deceive the patient …..”
(page 16) “But truth is that the doctors who are operating such machine for CT Scan, MRI etc. are not practically aware about the machine or about its operation. Everything is done by the technicians.”
(page 17) “Two doctors, one FRCS and another MRCP talked with each other along with report of Apollo Gleneagles Hospital report, CT chest report but both of them only talked and gossiped but no result is noted that is the conduct of the OPs and such a practice on the part of the OPs is no doubt unethical and against medical philosophy and for their negligent and deficient manner of treatment and diagnosis complainant suffered mental suffering, physical suffering, family suffering and financial suffering.”