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Surgery damage whodunnit

It was an operation by not one but two “ghosts”. And it left Anjana Basu Ray with what appears to be a permanently damaged bladder, sending her to the operation theatre — from Calcutta to Hyderabad — thrice, in vain.

The South 24-Parganas District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has now been entrusted with the task of solving a virtual whodunnit — the two doctors who signed Basu Ray’s discharge certificate from a south Calcutta nursing home have both told the court that they did not conduct the surgery that damaged her bladder.

An employee of Bengal Chemicals and a resident of Regent Park, Basu Ray was diagnosed with hernia four years ago by her doctor, B.B. De, who then referred her to surgeon D.K. Majumdar after advising that she undergo a hysterectomy as well. She admitted herself to Good Hope Nursing Home in Bagha Jatin in March 1999.

She was discharged in the first week of April after undergoing “total abdominal hysterectomy and repair of incisional hernia”. De and Majumdar were the doctors who treated her, the discharge certificate added. The catheter she was advised to use was removed after a week, but she found it difficult controlling her bladder. The trauma forced her to take long leave from office.

Basu Ray was then advised corrective surgery by another doctor, and went under the knife at the Advanced Medical Research Institute (AMRI) in July 1999. But her problems persisted, forcing her to consult another specialist. The second attempt at corrective surgery came off the same year at the Calcutta Medical Research Institute (CMRI). In December 1999, she left Calcutta for the Apollo Hospitals in Hyderabad, for yet another vain effort to mend the damage.

Basu Ray then approached the consumer court for justice. Her lawyer, N.R. Mukerje, demanded monetary compensation of Rs 5 lakh from the doctors as “exemplary punishment”.

But De has denied performing “any operation whatsoever” on Basu Ray, and Majumdar has claimed responsibility for only repairing the hernia, during which there was no injury to the bladder. The hysterectomy was “not done” by him, he said.

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