In a historic judgment delivered yesterday, the West Bengal Consumer Commission has awarded Rs. 25.5 lakh (including litigation cost of Rs. 50 thousand) to the widow of a government worker who died due to a botched brain surgery and follow up treatment by Dr. Alok Kumar Khan, senior neurosurgeon and ex-head of Neurosurgery at R.G. Kar Medical College & Hospital, a government medical college in Kolkata. This case was fought by PBT after the victim’s widow with two young children came to PBT seeking help as the family was devastated following the unexpected death of her husband. In fact, PBT president, Dr. Kunal Saha, personally appeared and argued the case before the State Commission last December coming all the way from his permanent residence in USA.
Another unique aspect of this case is that the guilty physician, Dr. Khan, chose not to appear before the consumer court as he refused to accept repeated notices from the court as the case had to be decided ex perte by the State Commission. The doctor and nursing home (owned by the doctor) where the botched surgery took place in 2009 also refused to provide the medical records to the victim’s family in candid violation of law. Ironically, the West Bengal Medical Council as well as the State Health Department also remained as silent spectator despite repeated appeals for justice from the victim’s family. The court has ordered that Dr. Khan must give the compensation of Rs. 25.5 lakh to the victim’s family within 60 days failing which an interest at the rate of 9% will be added to the award (see the full judgment below). PBT has been helping victims across India to find justice and to bring an end to the rampant incidence of medical negligence and healthcare corruption.