Hooghly: It was in 1996 that a lively teenage boy died after being administered a contaminated anti-rabies vaccine in a state-run hospital in Hooghly district.
After a legal battle for 22 years that even went to the Supreme Court, a consumer court has now directed the Bengal government to pay Rs 19.20-lakh as compensation and another Rs 10,000 as litigation cost to the bereaved family of the teenage boy.
Dinanath Chaudhary, who lived with his parents at Chandannagar Gondalpara Jute Mill labour quarter, was bitten by a dog in June 1996. He was taken to Chandannagar Sub-division Hospital at once, and the hospital administered him an anti-rabies vaccine on 27 June.
However, instead of recuperating, the class-VII boy fell critically ill on 6 August and a private physician diagnosed him to be suffering from rabies. Dinanath was admitted to Beliaghata ID Hospital in Kolkata where he passed away on 9 August.
Shell-shocked by the death of his teenage son, jute mill worker Badri Chaudhary, with help from civil rights group Association for Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR), lodged a complaint against the hospital and the state health department with the West Bengal Human Rights Commission.
The rights panel set up a medical expert committee, which found the vaccine to have been contaminated as it was not kept under refrigeration by the hospital authorities. The panel ordered the state government to pay Rs 2-lakh as compensation to the family but the state declined.
APDR made the bereaved father to move the Supreme Court over this and the apex court then referred the case to the Hooghly District Consumer Redress Forum. After a prolonged hearing, the Forum on Wednesday upheld the petition and ordered the state government to the compensation within a month.
The teenager’s father, Badri Chaudhary, however, is not alive to see the legal victory. He passed away in January this year.