The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) has ordered a senior medicine specialist in South Kolkata to pay Rs. 25 lakh to the wife of a patient who died due to the wrongful administration of anti-TB drugs.
The decision was made based on the fact that the doctor started anti-TB drug treatment in spite of the test reports being negative for tuberculosis.
The incident started in 2015. Himangshu Das (53), a pharmacist in the West Bengal government service, consulted Dr. Kabir Dutta since he was suffering from fever, cough, and vomiting. Dr. Dutta made him undergo the prescribed tests. After examining the test results, Dr. Dutta prescribed anti-TB medication to Mr. Das.
Reportedly, after taking the medicines continuously for a week, the patient's body color became yellow, his urine became deeply dark, and his condition worsened considerably. When the patient informed Dr. Dutta of the same, he apparently dismissed the effects as normal effects of medicine and advised Mr. Das to follow the same prescription. As directed, the patient continued the medicines, and his condition deteriorated continuously over time.
Subsequently, Mr. Das was hospitalized at KPC Medical College and Hospital, Kolkata. The doctors at the Medical College examined the reports and prescriptions of Dr. Dutta. They concluded that Mr. Das did not have tuberculosis, and because of prolonged consumption of anti-TB medicine, the patient’s liver was severely damaged.
Notwithstanding the treatments at various medical centers, the patient's condition did not improve, and he finally passed during treatment at Peerless Hospital and Research Centre.
Thereafter, in response to this, the deceased wife, Kanika Das, filed a consumer complaint against Dr. Kabir Dutta for alleging negligence and irresponsible treatment and demanded compensation of Rs. 17,01,905.
On the other hand, Dr. Dutta denied committing any medical negligence and stated that he had treated patients honestly as per the best medical practice standards over his 30 years of medical career.
Depending on medical literature, a bench of Justices Ram Surat Ram Maurya and Bharatkumar Pandya held that the medicine rifampicin along with isoniazid prescribed by Dr. Dutta had caused a damaged liver and, finally, the patient’s death.
Kanika Das, the deceased’s wife, filed a salary slip for Mr. Das that showed a monthly salary of over Rs 30,000 along with provident fund deductions of Rs 12,000. Taking this into consideration, the commission concluded that the total income loss caused by Das’s death was over Rs 27 lakh. But, due to the non-disclosure of the total number of family members, 66 percent of this income loss was subtracted, and just over Rs. 9.7 lakh was granted to Kanika. Along with this, Dr. Dutta was ordered to pay Kanika Rs. 13.1 lakh for all the medical expenses borne by her. Over Rs. 2 lakh was endowed for Das’s funeral and last-rite expenses, bringing the total compensation to Rs 25 lakh.
(Input from various media sources)