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Since 1st March, 1999
 
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Rights heat over tourist death

Cuttack, Jan. 2: The controversy over the death of an Italian tourist at SCB Medical College and Hospital here has generated heat with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) seeking a report on it from the state government on a petition seeking Rs 20 lakh as compensation for alleged negligence in treatment.

Sebastian Rosario Contiguglia, a 63-year-old Italian, died on December 14 last year at the hospital after undergoing treatment for over a fortnight.

Controversy had sparked following allegations that he died because of lack of proper care and treatment. Orissa High Court constituted a health care committee and amicus curiae Pravat Ranjan Dash submitted a complaint related to the death to the secretary of the state department of health.

The revenue divisional commissioner (central division), Arabinda Padhee, ordered an administrative inquiry on December 22 to ascertain the veracity of the allegations. Cuttack collector Girish S.N. has since undertaken the probe.

News of the death of the Italian tourist reached the NHRC with Akhand, a Pipili-based human rights organisation, filing a complaint alleging negligence in treatment and seeking compensation of Rs 20 lakh for members of Contiguglia’s family.

“Accepting the complaint, the NHRC has sought from the secretary, state department of health, a report within four weeks on the death of Sebastian Rosario Contiguglia, the victim of negligence in treatment,” petitioner counsel Nishikanta Mishra told The Telegraph here today.

“The commission issued the order on December 26,” Mishra said.

Contaguglia had come to the state from Boudh Gaya in Bihar. He was initially admitted at a Puri hospital after he developed diarrhoea at a lodge in Konark.

He was shifted to SCB Medical College and Hospital on November 26 and admitted to the intensive care unit of the medicine department. Subsequently, on December 11, he was moved to the hospital’s pulmonary medicine ward, where he died three days later.