The West Bengal State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (WBSCDRC) admitted a case of alleged medical negligence and issued notice against Woodlands Multispeciality Hospital in Kolkata for the wrongful death of a 76-year old patient from Birbhum, a rural part of West Bengal about 170 km from Kolkata. Apart from allegations of negligent therapy, the complaint also alleges that the private hospital refused to provide medical records to the victim’s family following death of the patient on the ground that patient’s family still owes money to the hospital and until full hospital bill is paid, no medical records would be provided to the family. Although the patient-party (of a low socio-economic background) paid almost Rs. 6 lakh rupees for the medical treatment, hospital claims total hospital bill was Rs. 23 lakh and patient’s family must pay another Rs. 17 lakh before medical records would be handed over to the patient party.
Section 1.3.2 of MCI Code of Medical Ethics & Regulations, 2002 has mandated that all doctors and hospitals must provide complete medical records of a patient within 72 hours without any condition. It is nearly impossible to establish a case of “medical negligence” without complete medical records of the patient. The complaint, filed by victim’s sons, has claimed that the “real” reason that the hospital is refusing to hand-over the medical records is to cover up their acts of negligence. PBT president, Dr. Kunal Saha, who is currently visiting India, appeared to argue on behalf of the victim’s family in this unusual case involving alleged medical negligence. The WBSCDRC issued notice to the hospital after hearing Dr. Saha and fixed next date of hearing on 11th January, 2018 (see Order below). PBT has been helping many victims of medical malpractice in their search for justice as Dr. Saha, who has successfully argued many medico-legal cases including the historic case of his wife, Anuradha Saha’s wrongful death before the Supreme Court of India in 2013, has been frequently coming to India over the past four years to argue cases on behalf of many hapless victims of wrong treatment across the country. Of course, PBT and Dr. Saha fight these legal battles for the victims completely free of cost and if fact, Dr. Saha spends lakhs of rupees of his own money in order to travel to India and appear in court on behalf of countless victims of medical negligence.