- Kolkata, Oct. 08, 2006: NRI
requested President of India for independent inquiry
of his wifes death
- The Supreme Court granted him special
leave Sep 12, 2005, to appeal against the high court
- Kolkata, June 27, 2006:NRI
doctor complains against West Bengal advocate general
- Kolkata, June 27, 2006:
for NRI fighting 'medical corruption'
- Kolkata, November 16, 2005:
Saha's wife death cases hearing on a compensation
claim of Rs.777 million on Thursday
- Kolkata, Nov 03, 2005:
NRI US scientist challenged the West
Bengal government in the Supreme Court for his wife's
death by negligence of two doctors
on West Bengal over medical negligence
Kolkata, Nov 03, 2005
By Sujoy Dhar, Kolkata: In a crusade against medical
negligence he says is rife in India, an NRI scientist
based in the US has challenged the West Bengal government
in the Supreme Court for "shielding doctors accused
of medical negligence".
Kunal Saha, a noted AIDS vaccine researcher at the
Children's Hospital and Ohio State University at Columbus,
Ohio, launched his fight against medical negligence
after his wife died in a city hospital in 1998.
And in the past seven years, his case has gone from
the lowest to the highest courts in India. But now
the Supreme Court is set to start final hearing in
the case in February.
The case came on a writ petition challenging West
Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya's statement
in July that doctors could not be arrested without
prior approval of a medical committee in cases of
The lawsuit was filed in July by People for Better
Treatment (PBT), an organisation set up by Saha and
comprising doctors and other professionals.
"Rather than trying to bring justice to the
defenceless victims of medical malpractices, the chief
minister issued a directive not to arrest and charge
any errant doctor under the Indian Penal Code (IPC)
without the prior approval of a special 'medical committee',"
Saha told IANS.
"The constitution does not give a chief minister
the right to provide immunity against IPC to members
of a particular profession. Our petition highlights
the issue," said Saha.
"Seven years ago, on May 28, a young life (his
wife Anuradha, a child psychologist) was needlessly
lost due to blatantly wrong therapy by several so-called
'eminent' doctors in the city.
Saha later formed PBT to make his crusade into a
He has filed cases against three doctors and the
AMRI hospital where Anuradha was treated before being
shifted to the Breach Candy Hospital in Mumbai where
she died from the TEN (Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis)
Besides, Saha had also filed a whopping Rs.770 million
compensation case at the National Consumer Disputes
Redressal Commission (NDCRC) in New Delhi against
Saha, who has left for the US, will be back in India
later this month when the NDCRC case comes up between
Nov 16 and 18. He has pledged to donate the entire
money towards betterment of healthcare in India if
he wins the case.
Saha also accused the Indian Medical Association
(IMA) of misinterpreting earlier judgments of the
"The association claims that the apex court
had barred police from arresting doctors for criminal
negligence. On the contrary, the court had categorically
ruled that the internationally-accepted Bolam principle
would be followed by our judiciary as well."
The Bolam principle states that a doctor can be charged
with "criminal negligence" if he acts in
a manner not followed by other "responsible"
medical bodies and if the treatment results in a loss
Doctors in face-off over new institute
Calcutta, April 29, 2005
Weeks before the showdown between physicians Sukumar
Mukherjee and Kunal Saha gets underway in the Supreme
Court, the two doctors are involved in a confrontation
over a new medical institute, headed by Mukherjee.
Saha, who had charged Mukherjee with negligence leading
to the death of his wife Anuradha over a decade ago,
has approached the Medical Council of India (MCI)
with another complaint against the veteran doctor.
The NRI doctor founder and president of People
for Better Treatment, an organisation that fights
medical negligence has alleged that the newly-formed
Indian Institute for Medical Technology (IIMT) does
not have the necessary permission from the MCI.
There is no denying that there is legal as
well as moral obligation for any new medical institute
to obtain permission from the appropriate division
of the MCI before offering any course or training
module for doctors. However, IIMT never obtained the
required permission from the MCI before opening or
offering medical courses for doctors, Saha has
stated in his complaint to the medical council.
He also said in his complaint that since Mukherjee
will stand trial in the apex court, he must be removed
as president of IIMT.
The high court had earlier acquitted the veteran
doctor in the negligence case.
C.K. Chatterjee, secretary and convener of IIMT,
said the institute was started after clearing all
Kunal Saha spoke to me from the US. I told
him that we would not remove Mukherjee or ask him
to resign. Saha might not know that permission from
the MCI is not mandatory for starting a certificate
course for doctors. We are not awarding any degree
or diploma, Chatterjee added.
We got in touch with the government and there
does not seem to be a problem on the legal front,
IIMT, which is located in Joka, offers a three-month
certificate course for doctors in handling of medical
Recently, a mannequin was brought to the institute
from the National Medical College and Hospital for
Our focus is to show doctors, especially the
younger group, better ways to handle crisis and improve
healthcare, especially in critical situations,
The course teaches doctors the correct ways to handle
ECG, multi-parameter monitor, pulse oxymeter, defibrillator
and ventilator, among a host of other equipment.
The faculty of IIMT comprises heads of departments
of various hospitals.
We have tried to rope in the best available
doctors for the course. We simulate critical situations
to help doctors deal with them better in real life,
Chatterjee signed off.
Calcutta HC rejects appeal by
Dr Kunal Saha
Calcutta , April 30, 2003
The Calcutta High Court on Wednesday rejected an appeal
by NRI doctor Kunal Saha for removal of Dr Ashok Choudhury
from the West Bengal Medical Council's Disciplinary
The committee dealt with Saha's complaint that three
reputed Kolkata doctors -- Dr Baidyanath Haldar, Sukumar
Mukherjee and Abani Roy Choudhury -- had been negligent
in treating his wife Anuradha leading to her death
in 1998 when on a visit to the metropolis.
A division bench comprising Justice Ashok Ganguly
and Justice Hrishikesh Mukherjee declined to interfere
with the June 18, 2002 decision of the Medical Council
appointing Dr Ashok Choudhury to the disciplinary
Saha feared not getting a fair judgment from the
committee alleging that Dr Choudhury was biased against
The NRI doctor had filed the appeal against an earlier
high court order vide which Justice Kalyan Jyoti Sengupta
had rejected Saha's plea for removal of Dr Choudhury,
who is also the president of the West Bengal Medical
The Medical Council has already declared that the
three doctors were not to be held responsible for
Doctors in aid of their tainted brethren
Strange are the ways of justice in India. Here, if
a complaint against any professional service is to
be lodged, it has to be lodged with the statutory
body of the respective service discipline. The members
of the body, who are themselves persons of a particular
profession, would proceed against someone belonging
to their own profession. Really a strange thing. As
a result of such an arrangement, in most cases, it
is seen, that the affected party seldom gets any justice.
The offender usually go scot-free.
Readers may be wondering why I have indulged in such
vague discussions with any concrete matter. I am speaking
about the doctor-patient relationship that has hit
the lowest ebb following the war-like attitude of
the doctors in response to the indictment of two of
their brethren. In India if a patient is subjected
to deliberate negligence (which is a norm nowadays
rather than an exception), he or she is required to
lodge a complaint with the respective State chapter
of Indian Medical Council. Here, is a panel of doctors
would then decide the fate of their professional colleague.
A ridiculous arrangement indeed. In most cases it
was seen that the doctors went scot-free killing more
and more patients with impunity.
Gone are the days, when a doctor was considered a
good Samaritan of the area. Even during the decade
of 70s, doctors were available throughout the night.
Nowadays, doctors are loath to leave the comfort of
the confines of their homes at night.
True, doctors are not expected to render charitable
service throughout their lifetime, but they are at
least expected to pay attention to those from whom
they are charging fees. Fees have skyrocketed in recent
years, and the service have taken a nose-drive. Taking
commissions for referring to nursing homes, or diagnostic
centres are commonplace phenomena and no one raises
an eyebrow if one hears of commissions. Yet, the doctors
speak of deteriorating patient-doctor relationship.
Cant they indulge in some degree of self-introspection?
Dr. Kunal Saha managed to mount the insurmountable.
In 1998, his wife died due to the negligence of two
doctors. He filed three cases against the doctors,
who were responsible for his wifes death. One
case was filed regarding claims with the consumer
court, the other was a complaint with the West Bengal
Medical Council and the last one was a case of criminal
negligence, a criminal case filed against the three
doctors. The doctors tried their level best to thwart
But perseverance and money-power of Dr. Kunal Saha
finally paid off. Dr. Saha staked his fortune to take
his fight to a logical conclusion. And he succeeded.
The Chief Judicial Magistrate found the two doctors
of the accused trio, Dr. Sukumar Mukherjee and Dr.
Baidyanath Halder, were held guilty of negligent
and inappropriate treatment.
Dr. Abani Roychowdhury was acquitted for lack of
evidence. The verdict of the court literally opened
a Pandoras box. The very next day of the pronouncement
of judgement saw thousands of people thronging the
organisation floated by Dr. Kunal Saha, People For
Better Treatment, to seek advice to redress their
The supentine queue to seek advice was evidence enough
of the peoples disillusionment with the medical
profession. Yet, people have to go the doctors. The
doctors would charge high fees and then neglect the
Nowadays, doctors hardly attend to house calls, because
the ailing patient may not be able to afford high
fees. The nursing homes would charge according to
their own will, but pay scant regard to the service.
In most cases, even the records are not handed over
to the unsuspecting patients relative. We say
that the magic healers play with the faith of the
people but are doctors any different? Perhaps they
know the answer.
The doctors, instead of going all out to defend the
accused, should do well to put their own house in
order. Only then would they have the moral right to
defend the indefensible. Till then, should the patients
allowed to suffer? I dont have the answer.
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