The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Knife mars, damages scar patient

How much can a botched surgery — leading to a life of misery, forced leave from office and several unsuccessful repair attempts, spending half a million rupees — cost'

All of Rs 1.5 lakh, if you are looking for an answer from a consumer court based in the city. For, that’s what Anjana Bose Roy has been ordered as compensation by the South 24-Parganas District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission for a permanently-leaking urinary bladder, for which neither of the two doctors — B.B. Dey and D.K. Majumdar — found “guilty” by the court, would accept responsibility.

Attempts at repairing that leak have forced the Bose Roys of Regent Park to sell her share of ancestral property and has taken her to several surgeons and hospitals, including one in Hyderabad, but all in vain.

The family has now all but accepted her forced, prolonged absence from work and social gatherings and even the court-decreed compensation.

Anjana’s travails began in 1999, when she was diagnosed with hernia. She, on doctors’ advice, also went in for an accompanying hysterectomy at a nursing home in south Calcutta in March 1999.

But she did not bargain for what she got along with that. A bladder that would not stop leaking several weeks after the surgery took her to other experts in the field, who confirmed her worst fears. The organ, they said, had been damaged badly during the surgery for repairing the hernia and removing the uterus.

Then began the rounds of hospitals. First stop, Advanced Medicare and Research Institute, July 1999. Doctors there failed to repair the cut.

Second on Anjana’s list of hospitals was Calcutta Medical Research Institute, in September. There, too, doctors said the slash was too big to be repaired.

Anjana, accompanied by husband Malay, finally decided to try her luck in another city. An attempt at repairing the hole that her first two surgeons had inflicted followed at Apollo Hospitals in Hyderabad in December the same year. But the Hyderabad-based institute, too, failed.

This forced the Bose Roys to conclude that Anjana would have to live with the hole in her bladder.

Along with that acceptance came other painful realisations: one, that a normal office life was over for Anjana and she would have to take prolonged leave from office; two, a normal social life was effectively over as well.

And then there was the hole in their pockets to take care of. Anjana’s share of ancestral property at Ichhapur had already been sold off — it fetched around Rs 2.5 lakh — but that was only around half of what the family had to spend on the surgeries and the trips to Hyderabad, Malay said on Tuesday.

“The compensation we have won hardly makes up for what we have gone through and what we have spent,” he added. “We are in touch with our advocate (N.R. Mukerje) to decide on our next course of action,” he said.

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