Indian Medical Association (MCI) and other influential doctor-lobbies are making frequent agitations against attacks on doctors or vandalism of hospitals by irate friends and family members of a victim of “medical negligence”. PBT never supports physical attacks on doctors/hospitals because two wrongs cannot make a right. But have the IMA leaders and members of the medical community in India ever attempted to understand the real or underlying cause of mob attacks on doctors? Who is actually responsible for the present condition of Indian healthcare? In a thought provoking analytical discussion about the glaring problem of attacks on doctors/hospitals, PBT president talks about the underlying reasons for attacks by the hapless victims of medical negligence (read the Hindustan Times article below).
Dr. Ketan Desai, then president of MCI, was caught red-handed by CBI in April, 2010 for taking a bribe of multi-crore rupees from a private medical college in Punjab and he spent next almost seven months in jail before being released on bail. Soon thereafter, Desai’s medical license was suspended for indefinite period by the newly formed Board of Governors (BOG) in MCI after PBT president, Dr. Kunal Saha, lodged a complaint against Desai for unethical conduct. But more than 7 years later, while still roaming free on bail, Desai regained the position of WMA president with sinister support from his medical cronies who are occupying top posts in the IMA and MCI as the criminal trial against him in CBI court in Patiala House in Delhi is delayed on one ground or another. Ironically, playing the role of a honest and unscathed medical man and head of WMA, Desai along with World Veterinary Association (WVA) issued a joint statement this week calling for Rabies control in the world. This unbelievable saga involving the most corrupt and criminally indicted doctor (Ketan Desai) continues making a total mockery of Indian medical education and healthcare delivery system as the government remains as a silent spectator and IMA/MCI doctor-leaders also continue their relentless attempts to further glorify Dr. Ketan Desai.
A Legal Notice was sent yesterday by PBT president Dr. Kunal Saha’s advocate to the West Bengal Government under Section 80 of Code of Civil Procedures (CPC), 1908 with a demand of Rs. 100 Crore for “defamation” and “vicarious liability” as the government failed to take any action after a judge in Calcutta High Court made slanderous and defamatory comments against Dr. Saha while acquitting three senior Kolkata doctors from all charges of medical negligence who were later found guilty for causing death of Dr. Saha’s wife, Anuradha Saha, by the Supreme Court of India. While holding the doctors guilty for medical negligence in 2009, Apex Court also severely chastised the High Court judge and held that the judge made “irresponsible accusations” against Dr. Saha without any basis whatsoever.
After the Apex Court verdict, Dr. Saha moved Calcutta High Court again in 2011 with a case for “criminal defamation” (under Section 500 IPC) against the first judge for his defamatory and irresponsible accusations. Although High Court dismissed Dr. Saha’s petition on technical ground, the court also agreed with the opinion of the Supreme Court that “irresponsible accusations” were made against Dr. Saha and observed that while a private citizen may not file charges against a judge for making derogatory comments in a judgment, the State may take appropriate action and be vicariously liable for any wrong done on a citizen. But since the Bengal Government remained silent and refused to take any action to bring justice to Dr. Saha, he has now sent this Legal Notice claiming Rs. 100 crore for defamation and vicarious liability. However, in the same Legal Notice, Dr. Saha’s advocate has also categorically stated that Dr. Saha will not personally take a single rupee from this lawsuit and the entire money will be donated for improvement of healthcare system and other benevolent public purposes in India. Under Section 80 of CPC, at least 60 days notice must be given to a respondent before filing a claim suit in the appropriate court.
In another shocking development underscoring corruption and accumulation of black money by the hitherto “untouchable” doctors and medical specialists, Income Tax officers raided RSV Hospital, a premier private nursing home in Kolkata that specialized in in vitro fertilization (IVF) with hope for children to the infertile couples at a hefty price. The hospital owner and self-proclaimed top IVF specialist, Dr. Bani Kumar Mitra was enticing a new childless couple in his chamber when the Tax Men raided his nursing home on Saturday (September 16) and reportedly collected about Rs. 4 crore in cash that were stacked in unimpressive boxes.
Ironically, several families of alleged victims who died in the hands of Dr. Mitra recently came to PBT seeking justice after both the child and mother died following treatment by Dr. Mitra at the IVF Hospital after they collected lakhs of rupees in the name of IVF therapy. PBT is in the process of filing new compensation lawsuits to help these alleged victims of Dr. Mitra at this very moment. In fact, during recent visit to Kolkata by PBT president Dr. Kunal Saha, a mass public demonstration was held in front of the RSV Hospital in demand of expedited investigation and cancellation of Dr. Mitra’s medical registration because of his reckless and unethical treatment of several hapless patients. PBT is planning to appeal to the medical council for immediate and summarily suspension of Dr. Mitra’s license on the ground of “moral turpitude” under Section 7.5 of MCI Code of Ethics and Regulations, 2002.
In a judgment that may have major implications for surgeries in smaller hospitals and nursing homes, Supreme Court has opined that hospitals/nursing homes without adequate intensive care unit (ICU) facility should not undertake surgical procedures in which there is reasonable chance for serious post-operative complications putting the life of the patient in danger. The Apex Court was hearing an appeal by one Mr. Bijoy Sinha Roy (who has also passed away during pendency of this case) whose wife died following post-surgical complications after hysterectomy (removal of uterus) by one Dr. Biswanath Das in a small nursing home in 1994 (see SC judgment below). However, the court did not held the doctor for specific “medical negligence” in the diagnosis or treatment of the patient. Apart from this important direction, Apex Court also criticized the fact that it took long 23 years for this case to be settled an directed National Consume Forum (NCDRC) to frame new ways to dispose of cases of medical negligence in an expedited manner.
Calcutta High Court division bench of acting chief justice Nishita Mhatre and Tapobrata Chakrabarty yesterday allowed application filed by PBT president, Dr. Kunal Saha, granting him permission to argue in person in the PIL filed by Dr. Saha challenging inclusion of disgraced Dr. Sukumar Mukherjee in the newly formed Health Commission (framed under Clinical Establishment Act, 2017) to judge complaints of “medical negligence” against private doctors/hospitals in the state. Dr. Mukherjee was found guilty for gross medical negligence causing death of Dr. Saha’s wife, Anuradha Saha, by the Supreme Court of India that also slapped Dr. Mukherjee (and some other doctors and AMRI hospital in Kolkata) with a compensation of Rs. 11.5 crore, highest ever in Indian medical history. The Apex Court not only held Dr. Mukherjee as a negligent doctor, it also severely criticized his unethical behavior and dubbed him as “unbecoming of a doctor” and a doctor who has brought “great disrespect to his (medical) profession”.
Dr. Saha traveled to Kolkata in July, 2017 to lodge the PIL against Mamata Banerjee government in West Bengal for their deliberate attempt to promote a tainted doctor (Dr. Mukherjee) that also undermined the sanctity of the Supreme Court in the eyes of the public at large in clear violation of Article 144 of Indian Constitution. But after physically appearing before the High Court over a period of almost two months, the PIL was adjourned several times and Dr. Saha had to return to his permanent residence and place of work in USA before which he filed an application to grant live videoconferencing from USA to allow him to argue in person for the ends of justice. The Calcutta HC allowed his application yesterday and directed that further hearings in this important PIL will be held after puja vacation through videoconferencing so that Dr. Saha may participate in the court proceedings from USA. Supreme Court has recently said that all courts should try to utilize modern technologies including live videoconferencing to promote better and easier access to find justice.
Dr. Sukumar Mukherjee, who was found guilty for gross medical negligence causing death of Anuradha Saha by Supreme Court in 2009 that also awarded highest ever compensation of Rs. 11.5 crore in 2013, was chosen as the “chief adviser” for Bengal health department by chief minister Mamata Banerjee against which a writ petition was filed by Anuradha’s husband and PBT’s founding-president, Dr. Kunal Saha, with Mamata Banerjee as the first respondent against whom serious allegations of male fide appointment of Dr. Mukherjee and deliberate attempt to undermine sanctity of Apex Court were raised. While admitting issuing notice to the respondents, Calcutta HC also directed Dr. Saha to delete the name of CM Mamata Banerjee from the array of respondents that was challenged by Dr. Saha through an SLP before the Supreme Court. Although Apex Court admitted the SLP and issued notice against Mamata Banerjee in late 2012, the case is still pending for final disposal before the Supreme Court.
After waiting for almost five years, Mamata Banerjee has submitted a response-affidavit this week in which she has claimed that although Dr. Mukherjee was appointed as the “chief adviser” by the government in 2012, he had been removed from the post in 2015. Until now, nobody in Bengal government made any whisper that Dr. Mukherjee was removed from the post of “chief adviser” even though two cases were pending before Calcutta HC and Apex Court. Banerjee now claims that this case now should be deemed as “infructuous”. The SLP is expected to come up for final hearing soon. Ironically, although Dr. Mukherjee has been removed from the post of “chief adviser”, as CM has claimed, the same doctor was appointed as a senior member of the recently formed Health Commission (under Clinical Establishment Act, 2017) with enormous power to judge all complaints of “medical negligence” against private doctors in West Bengal. Dr. Saha has already challenged appointment of Dr. Mukherjee in the Health Commission through a PIL and Calcutta High Court has also issued notice against the government and Dr. Mukherjee in that case which will listed for hearing tomorrow (Sept. 1, 2017).
PBT president, Dr. Kunal Saha, appeared before division bench of Justice Iswar Chandra Das and Tarapada Gangopadyay in West Bengal Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission and argued on behalf of Mr. Prabir Dey, a poor daily laborer whose 20-year old wife Archana Dey died last year at the R.G. Kar Medical College & Hospital, a top super-specialty hospital in Kolkata, only days after she delivered their first child through an otherwise uneventful delivery what the death certificate issued by the hospital claims as death due to “acute renal failure”. The state hospital has not provided any any explanation as to how a healthy 20-year old woman could suddenly die from “acute renal failure” and even more shockingly, the hospital has refused to provide any medical record to the victim’s family in clear violation of law (Section 1.3.2 of MCI Code of Ethics & Regulations, 2002). Dr. Saha argued that a young and healthy woman dying following delivery with “acute renal failure” should be ex facie deemed as a case of medical negligence. A compensation of Rs. 95 lakh has been claimed for the loss of a mother on behalf of the unfortunate husband and newborn baby-girl. Commission has admitted the case and issued notice to the hospital as the matter would come for final hearing on February 10, 2018.
A division bench of Hon’ble Justice Mr. B.C. Gupta and Dr. S.M. Kantikar in the National Consumer Forum (NCDRC) admitted a major complaint of “medical negligence” and issued show cause notice against a private nursing home “Extent Medical & Surgical Center” in Chandannagar near Kolkata for the wrongful death of Ms. Sanchita Khan, US-trained IT specialist and only 32-year old daughter of a ENT specialist, Dr. Manik Chandra Khan. Sanchita died following treatment by one Dr. Amit Saha (owner of the Extent nursing home) after suffering from a simple cough and fever for only 4 days. Ironically, Dr. Saha was found to be practicing with a fake M.D. degree in medicine as he claimed himself to be a “critical care specialist” even though he was found to have only post-graduate (M.D.) degree in Preventive and Social Medicine (PSM).
PBT president, Dr. Kunal Saha, appeared on behalf of Dr. Khan and argued that the treatment provided to the victim was abysmal as no attempt was made to correct the obvious medical problems like anemia and hypoxia as the patient was left virtually unattended to die after only 4 days. A claim of Rs. 3.95 crore compensation has been made in this complaint in view of the young age and high status of the victim as well as the unethical conduct of the accused doctor and hospital.
PBT president also successfully argued before the same bench the case of a second victim of alleged medical negligence in which a 62-year old lady, who was suffering from a heart attack, was refused admission at an ESI Hospital in Kolkata. The patient died within 15 hours without treatment after she was taken back home. In this case, MCI has already found the accused doctor, Darpanarayan Datta, guilty for medical negligence and directed the West Bengal Medical Council (WBMC) to cancel his medical license for a period of 1 year. Unfortunately, WBMC still refused to abide by the MCI’s order and did not take any measure to cancel license of Dr. Datta. A compensation of Rs. 1.05 crore has been claimed in this matter. Both matters will come up for further hearing in November. Over the past more than one month since Dr. Saha came from USA, he has been appearing for different victims of medical negligence (on behalf of PBT) in consumer courts across India without ever taking any money from any of the victims only to help them find medical justice.
Scores of victims of alleged medical negligence gathered in front of RSV Hospital, a prominent city hospital in Tollygaunge, Kolkata yesterday under PBT’s banner and demanded speedy justice in all pending complaints of against doctors/hospitals. Heart-rending stories of gross medical negligence and death of near and dear ones were narrated by many victim’s friends and families. People raised demand for timely justice in cases involving alleged “medical negligence” in consumer courts through a separate fast-track court. Many victims expressed their dismay with the functioning of the state medical council that has been riddled with wide-spread corruption primarily working to shield the errant doctors without any care for the hapless victims of medical negligence. PBT president, Dr. Kunal Saha, was also present at this public rally and demanded that corrupt medical council members must be held accountable and replaced by honest doctors if there is any hope to restore public trust on our healers (see rally picture below with Dr. Saha).
Division bench of West Bengal State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission headed by president Justice Mr. Ishwar Chandra Das issued notice against Belle Vue Clinic, a premier private hospital in Kolkata, and Dr. Niranjan Bhattacharyya for a botched surgery that nearly took the life of wife of Mr. Partha Datta, a retired income tax commissioner. As emphatically argued by PBT president, Dr. Kunal Saha, while doing a routine hysterectomy, Dr. Bhattacharyya also cut the left ureter of the patient and even worse, it was not disclosed to the patient or her husband. After patient’s condition deteriorated rapidly and a second opinion was sought, it was found that urine was leaking into the abdomen as the patient went into a serious condition. A number of follow-up surgeries were performed as the patient was transferred to a different hospital to save the life of the patient who still suffers from persistent medical problems. The long medical fiasco also caused a serious dent in Datta’s financial situation as the family had to pay a hefty hospital bill of over Rs. 20 lakh. The lawsuit has sought a compensation of about Rs. 45 lakh including the hospital cost for treatment of the patient. The matter will be listed for contested hearing on January 10, 2018.
Ironically, the same Dr. Bhattacharyya was also involved with unlawful and unethical “stem cell therapy” on a poor and unsuspecting patient in 2013. PBT lodged a formal complaint against this doctor with the West Bengal Medical Council seeking cancellation of medical registration of Dr. Bhattacharyya for his unlawful and dangerous medical experiment. While WBMC listed PBT’s complaint on their website, not a single hearing was held till now as the devious medical council stays on a slumber for the past 4 years as the accused doctor (see below).
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.
More than two years ago, medical field in West Bengal and across India was rattled with the news that Dr. Nirmal Maji, president of West Bengal Medical Council (WBMC), orchestrated to have hemodialysis of his pet dog done at SSKM Hospital, top super-specialty tertiary care hospital for human patients in Kolkata (see below). The brazenly unscientific idea of using a dialysis machine on a dog that is regularly used for humans is not only reckless and unethical, it may also pose serious threats to the human patients because of possibility of spread of infection and even more dangerously, chance of transmission of a new virus or other microbial diseases of animals (“zoonotic diseases”) to the innocent humans. Although a registered physician from West Bengal, Dr. Maji is also an MLA of the ruling Trinomul-Congress party, top IMA leader from Kolkata and head of the state medical council that has the ultimate duty to protect patients from medical negligence and unethical activities by Bengal doctors.
PBT filed a formal complaint in 2015 with the WBMC against Dr. Maji for his blatantly unethical and dangerous attempt to perform dialysis of his pet dog in a government hospitals for humans. More than two years have passed and media uproar against Dr. Maji have subsided, WBMC has remained absolutely silent and refused to investigate or take any action against their president even though MCI Code of Ethics & Regulations, 2002 has clearly stipulated that complaints against doctors must be decided within a period of 6 months. Now, PBT has lodged an appeal (under section 8.7 of MCI Codes) with MCI today urging the central medical council to investigate and take immediate disciplinary action against the present WBMC president. Nobody is above the law – we hope that MCI will rise to the occasion and take quick and exemplary disciplinary action against Dr. Maji.
A new PIL (Writ Petition No. 17057W/2017) filed against the recently formed Health Commission (under W.B. Clinical Establishment Act, 2017) was admitted by the Calcutta High Court division bench of chief justice Ms. Nishita Mhatre and Mr. Tapabrata Chakraborty and tagged with a second PIL (W.P. No. 217/2017) that had already been pending on similar grounds. The court directed West Bengal health department and Dr. Sukumar Mukherjee to file their response within 2 week and allowed another 2 weeks to file any rejoinder. The matter will be heard after 4 weeks.
The PIL filed by PBT president Dr. Kunal Saha has raised specific questions on violation of Constitution as well as moral authority on part of the state government to select Dr. Mukherjee as senior doctor-member of the powerful Health Commission to judge complaints of medical negligence by private doctors and hospitals in the state. Ironically, as known all over India, the same Dr. Mukherjee was found guilty by the Supreme Court for gross medical negligence causing death of Anuradha Saha in 2009. The Apex Court also awarded a compensation of Rs. 11.5 crore (including interest), highest in Indian medico-legal history, against Dr. Mukherjee and some other doctors/AMRI hospital in a second historic judgment in 2013. The Supreme Court has also made scathing criticism for professional misconduct against Dr. Mukherjee and dubbed his conduct as “unbecoming of a doctor” and who has brought “great disrespect for the medical profession”. The PIL has claimed that appointment of Dr. Mukherjee to the coveted post as a senior medical member for the Health Commission has undermined sanctity of the Apex Court and it also has violated Article 144 of Indian Constitution that mandates that all authority in India, civil and judicial, must act in aid of Supreme Court.
PBT launched a new branch in Mumbai under supervision of Mrs. Nalini Suchdeb, who is a victim herself and has been fighting a long battle for justice after her mother died from alleged medical negligence in Bombay Hospital. Founded in 2001 by Dr. Kunal Saha following his wife’s untimely death from gross medical negligence by top doctors and AMRI hospital in Kolkata, PBT has played a key role to instill a semblance of accountability for the errant doctors, to eradicate the rampant corruption in the medical regulatory authorities including MCI and state medical councils and to help the innocent victims of medical negligence (see news below).
PBT is not anti-doctors, it is only against the corrupt and negligent doctors. Apart from Dr. Saha, several other honest and prominent Indian doctors who are also involved with battle against medical corruption including Dr. Sunil Pandya, noted neurosurgeon from Mumbai and ex-Editor of Indian Journal of Medical Ethics (IJME), were also present in the inauguration program on July 2, 2017 and called for the urgent need for all compassionate and “good” doctors of India to stand up against the corrupt and unscrupulous medical leaders who have been plundering the medical education and healthcare system in India. All conscientious citizens who want to join hands in our battle against medical corruption and all victims of alleged medical negligence in the Mumbai area who are looking for help in finding medical justice are urged to contact PBT’s new Mumbai coordinator, Mrs. Suchdeb at 9867287911.