Mumbai: The State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has awarded a Thane widow a hefty compensation of Rs 15 lakh—one of the highest given in the state in the recent past—after penalising three doctors for medical negligence that led to her husband’s death.
Kalyani Raut’s husband, Bharat, died in April 2003, allegedly because of lack of facilities at a Thane hospital. He was admitted there for an operation of a tumour on his shoulder. While the surgery was being performed Bharat’s condition deteriorated and he died on the operation table. With his death, the family—Kalyani and her three children—was left with no earning member. “I was left with the huge responsibility of bringing up the kids,’’ she said.
Soon after, the Rauts lodged a complaint against the hospital and the three doctors with the directorate of health services, which appointed a committee to probe the incident. Kalyani also moved the apex consumer court in the state in 2004, demanding compensation from the doctors. The government team found negligence on the part of the doctors who operated on Bharat and the report submitted was used as an evidence in court. After hearing the matter and examining the report, state commission presiding judicial member P N Kashalkar ordered the doctors to pay a compensation as well as an interest of 6% on the amount, to be calculated from the date when the complaint was lodged.
When Kalyani was suddenly rendered a widow, she was too old to get employed to any place; so she has been doing odd jobs since 2003 to support her family. “I sold saris in Thane slums and middle-class housing colonies,’’ she said on Saturday. She also runs a small tiffin service but it depends on the number of lunch or dinner orders she gets in a day. Her entire family has been living on a monthly income of Rs 6,000.
Her lawyers, Rajiv Thakur and Shilpa Ovalekar, did not charge her a single penny to contest her case. “We hope that the Medical Council of India and the local administration debar these doctors from practising as mentioned in the order,’’ Thakur said.