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Anuradha Saha Death: Biggest Case For “Medical Negligence” Starts In Supreme Court

Final argument in the highest-ever claim for wrongful death of a patient has started in Supreme Court today before the bench of Justices Mr. C.K. Prasad and Mr. V.G. Gowda.  Anuradha Saha, wife of PBT president Dr. Kunal Saha, died from reckless medical therapy by several Kolkata doctors during a social visit to India in 1998.  After a protracted legal battle, a division bench of Apex Court headed by Justice S.B. Sinha held four senior Kolkata doctors (Sukumar Mukherjee, Abani Roychowdhury, Baidyanath Halder and Balaram Prasad) and AMRI Hospital in Kolkata (where more than 90 patients suffocated to death from a fire in 2011) guilty in 2009 for causing death of Anuradha and remanded the case back to National Consumer Commission (NCDRC), which previously found no fault of any of the doctors/hospital, only to determine the quantum of compensation.  On October 21, 2011, NCDRC awarded Rs. 1.7 crore of compensation against the Kolkata doctors and AMRI Hospital which also did not include any interest in this almost 15 years old case.  Although this was the highest compensation ever allowed by a court in India, this was only a tiny fraction of the total claim made by Anuradha’s husband who filed an appeal against the NCDRC judgment in the Apex Court.  The final hearing of this appeal was fixed on January 22, 2013 and after almost 2 months, the final argument in this historic case eventually started today.  Dr. Saha, who argued personally in 2009 during the final hearing before the Supreme Court, has once again personally appeared to make the final argument this time.  Dr. Saha’s total claim now stands at about Rs. 97 crore plus applicable interest, however; he has already vouched that the entire compensation (except personal legal expenses) from this award would be donated for promotion of better healthcare in India and for poor Indian children (Anuradha was a child psychologist).  The final argument by AMRI Hospital, Dr. Balaram Prasad and part argument on behalf of Dr. Sukumar Mukherjee was concluded today.  The hearing will resume after Supreme Court open following the Holi holidays on April 2, 2013.

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