|Biplab Sengupta in Siliguri on Thursday. Picture by Kundan Yolmo|
Siliguri, May 2: A court here has directed a gynaecologist in Siliguri to pay Rs 5 lakh as compensation to a teacher for medical negligence that led to the death of his wife after she delivered a baby 21 years ago.
Biplab Sengupta of Babupara alleged that his wife Pubali had contracted infection while she was undergoing caesarean at gynaecologist K.C. Mitra’s nursing home on January 1, 1992. Although the woman delivered a healthy baby boy, her condition deteriorated and she died at a private hospital in Calcutta on January 21, 1992.
In the judgment delivered by civil judge senior division Sanjay Paul on Tuesday, doctor Mitra was asked to pay the compensation within one month of the date of the verdict.
“The learned court …. came to a conclusion that there was negligence on part of Dr K.C. Mitra for which the learned court allowed the prayer of Biplab Sengupta and delivered judgment… directing K.C. Mitra to pay a sum of Rs 5,00,000 as compensation for damage within one month,” said a press release issued by Sengupta’s lawyer Sunil Kumar Sarkar. The certified copy of the judgment is awaited.
Swadesh Ranjan Sarkar, the lawyer who represented Mitra, said: “The court had ordered a decree of Rs 5 lakh in the case, where I was the defendant’s counsel. We are, however, yet to get the order in writing, along with the court’s findings and other details.”
Sengupta said Pubali had a temperature at the time of the operation.
“The doctor administered paracetamol and carried out the operation on January 1, 1992. This was a rash move on part of the doctor. Even though my wife delivered a healthy baby boy, her condition deteriorated and the fever did not subside,” said Sengupta.
Several pathological tests were carried out and other doctors also examined her. ‘But no proper diagnosis could be made and Mitra, suspecting that Pubali’s condition was critical, recommended her to Calcutta Medical and Research Institute under the care of Sukumar Mukherjee,” said Sengupta.
“My wife already had septicemia and Mitra was aware of it. Still, he gave her a medically fit certificate so that she could be flown to Calcutta. Doctors in Calcutta said my wife had septicemia in Siliguri and she was brought very late to Calcutta. She died on January 21, 1992,” the teacher said.
The civil suit against Mitra was filed in the Siliguri court in February 1992. The delay in the judgment was attributed to the reluctance of witnesses, including former minister Asok Bhattacharya, to appear before the court.
“There was a public uproar after Pubali’s death. As Bhattacharya was the local MLA then, he, too, was made a witness in the case,” said Sengupta’s lawyer Sunil Kumar Sarkar.
Mitra today denied any negligence on his part and said that he would appeal to the Calcutta High Court against the verdict.
“As far as definition of negligence is concerned, it happens when a supervising doctor does not treat a patient. In Pubali’s case, I was always examining her, referring her to other physicians and to a higher medical institution when it was required,” said Mitra.