A bench of justices SJ Mukhopadhaya and V Gopala Gowda asked the hospital and the three doctors to pay the amount within eight weeks to Kunal Saha, an Ohio-based AIDS researcher. (Agencies)
The National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission (NCDRC) in 2011 had awarded Rs 1.73 crore to the doctor whose wife Anuradha Saha died in 1998 following faulty treatment administered at the hospital.
Raising the amount of compensation, the Apex Court also asked the hospital to pay an interest at the rate of six percent to Saha.
The court said out of the total compensation amount, both doctors Balram Prasad and Sukumar Mukherjee will pay Rs 10 lakh each and another doctor Baidyanath Halder will have to pay Rs five lakh to Saha within eight weeks.
The rest of the amount, along with the interest, will be paid by the hospital, the Apex Court said, adding that a compliance report be filed before it after payment of the compensation amount.
NCDRC had fixed the compensation on a direction by the apex court, which had referred Saha's appeal to it while holding the three doctors and the hospital culpable to civil liability for medical negligence which had led to the death of Anuradha.
Anuradha, herself a child psychologist, had come to her home town Kolkata in March 1998 on a summer vacation. She complained of skin rashes on April 25 and consulted Sukumar Mukherjee, who, without prescribing any medicine, simply asked her to take rest.
As rashes reappeared more aggressively on May 7, 1998, Sukumar Mukherjee prescribed Depomedrol injection 80 mg twice daily, a step which was later faulted by experts at the Apex Court.
After administration of the injection, Anuradha's condition deteriorated rapidly following which she had to be admitted at AMRI on May 11 under Mukherjee's supervision.
Saha, in his plea before NCDRC, had demanded a record Rs 77 crore as compensation.
While awarding Rs 1,72,87,500 as compensation to Saha for his wife's death, NCDRC had held the US doctor responsible for contributing to the negligence committed by the three Kolkata doctors and the hospital and had ordered 10 per cent deduction in the amount of compensation making it Rs 1.55 crore.
Another doctor involved in Anuradha's treatment, Abani Roy Chowdhury had passed away during the pendency of the case.
As Anuradha's condition failed to improve, she was flown to Breach Candy Hospital, Mumbai, where she was found to be suffering from a rare and deadly skin disease -Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis (TEN). She died there on May 28, 1998.
Saha had then filed a criminal as well as civil case against the doctors and both the hospitals on the ground that they were grossly negligent in her treatment leading to her death.
In 2009, though the Apex Court absolved the doctors and the hospitals of criminal liability for medical negligence, it had held them culpable of civil liabilities and referred Saha's plea for compensation under provisions of the Consumer Protection Act to NCDRC, which, had in 2006 dismissed, the case.
After the NCDRC judgement, Saha had again moved the Apex Court and the three doctors had also filed an appeal before it.
NCDRC, in its judgement, had stipulated that AMRI and Dr Mukherjee would pay Rs 40.4 lakh each to Saha, while two other doctors, Halder and Prasad, would pay Rs 26.93 lakh each to him.
A bench of justices SJ Mukhopadhaya and V Gopala Gowda asked the hospital and the three doctors to pay the amount within eight weeks to Kunal Saha, an Ohio-based AIDS researcher.