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Kolkata neurosurgeon, hospital directed to pay Rs 25 lakh for botched brain surgery

Kolkata: The West Bengal Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has directed Dr Alok Kumar Khan and the Calcutta Medical Complex Nursing Home to pay a compensation of Rs 25 lakh and a litigation fee of Rs 50,000 to the widow of a patient who died due to a botched brain surgery and follow up treatment by Dr Khan.

According to the court records, Ananda Kumar Sikdar, aged 61 years, had been suffering from pain in the face and was referred to Dr Alok Kumar Khan, a specialist in neurology and the owner of the Calcutta Medical Complex Nursing Home Diagnostic Centre and Polyclinic.

After examining the patient, Dr Khan diagnosed that the suffering from pain was due to a grown up tumour within the brain of the patient and advised immediate surgical intervention.

The patient “was not informed of any admitted risk” and there was no ‘informed consent’, claimed the patient’s wife and complainant Shyamali Sikdar. She further claimed that later the nursing home authority failed to supply the medical records, namely, bed head tickets, treatment sheet etc.

After the first surgery, conducted on July 5, 2009, the complications arose and the second surgery was performed on July 10. After the second surgery condition of the patient further deteriorated and Dr Khan “failed to manage the complications”.

Subsequently, the patient was shifted to Ruby General Hospital on July 29 and the doctors after examining the patient said that the condition of the patient was critical. There was wide spread septicaemia resulting in multi-organ failure. The patient expired on August 2, 2009.

Dr Khan in the prescription dated July 28, 2009 recorded that the condition was very bad and the life saving medicines prescribed therein were not available in local medicine shop.

“Such fact of non-availability of life saving drugs goes to show that the Nursing Home had no proper infrastructure for brain surgery,” a two-member bench, comprising of presiding member Justice Kalidas Mukherjee and member Tarapada Gangopadhyay, observed in its order dated February 26, 2016.

After hearing the complainant, the bench further observed that Dr Khan and his nursing home are responsible for the patient’s nosocomial infection. It added, “From the materials on record it is clear that Dr Khan “failed to take due care and exercise standard skill as per medical practice and procedure”. And the nursing home “lacked proper infrastructure for brain surgery”. Therefore, both Dr Khan and his nursing home are “liable to pay compensation to the complainant”.

The case was decided ex perte as Dr Khan did not appear before the state commission. Dr Kunal Saha, president of People for Better Treatment (PBT), had personally appeared before the commission and argued the case on behalf of the complainant, Shyamali Sikdar, who had approached PBT for help.

Read the full judgement

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