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Woodland Medical Centre, Kolkata along with two doctors to pay 60 Lakhs for medical negligence

New Delhi : The national consumer disputes redressal commission (NCDRC) has held Kolkata-based Woodlands Medical Centre Ltd and two doctors responsible for deficiency in service, unfair trade practice and medical negligence and asked them to pay Rs60 lakh within six weeks to the family of the deceased patient. The wife and the minor son of the deceased Kuntal Chowdhury had alleged medical negligence causing the death of Kuntal Chowdhury due to the administration of vincristine intrathecally.

The order was passed  by the Presiding Member of NCDRC  Dr S M Kantikar which  says “I conclusively determine ‘deficiency’ as well as ‘unfair trade practice’ on the part of the Hospital, a multispecialty tertiary care hospital of which the highest standard of essential infrastructure and patient’s care, protocols and management was expected but which it failed to provide. The medical negligence is conclusively attributable to both the doctors; however, the negligence of the anesthetist is writ large.” 

The NCDRC bench asked Woodlands Medical Centre to pay Rs30 lakh, medical oncologist Dr Rajesh Jindal to pay Rs10 lakh and anesthetist Dr Patwari Rs20 lakh. Further, the Hospital is asked to pay Rs2 lakh as litigation charges to the deceased patient’s family. 

Mr. Kuntal Chowdhury was detected with cancer and had completed three chemo cycles under Dr Jindal at Woodlands Hospital. But on the next cycle Dr Sanjay Patwari administered chemo to Mr.Chowdhury. The doctor intrathecally (IT) injected vincristine which was instead to be given intravenously (IV). Thus, due to the wrong administration of vincristine intrathecally, the patient’s condition alarmingly deteriorated. On realizing the precarious condition of the patient and to wash off their hands from willful negligence, the Hospital and Dr Jindal discharged the patient and referred him to Tata Memorial Hospital (TMH) in Mumbai for emergency management. But subsequently Mr. Chowdhury passed away. The wife and son of Mr.Chowdhury filed a complaint before the NCDRC praying for a compensation of Rs 3.10 crore.

“Having regard to the observation on ‘duty of care’, I find the Hospital and two treating doctors failed in their duty of care. The doctors were equally responsible for the failure of duty of care. Dr Jindal as a medical oncologist, did not follow the instructions prescribed by the TMH for chemotherapy. He was not present during chemotherapy, which was against the mandatory protocol. And secondly, Dr Patwari blindly administered vincristine intrathecally; it was utter failure, carelessness and dereliction in the duty of care. There are glaring deficiencies visible from the Hospital. There are no safety guidelines for treatment of cancer patients and about chemotherapy. No documentation, no standard SOPs for the care of the patient receiving cytotoxic or biologic agents. The Hospital has not maintained records properly,” the bench says.