After 11 years of struggle, Abhishek Ahluwalia has finally got justice. The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) has awarded him a compensation of Rs 70 lakh for suffering the medical negligence because of which his left leg had to be amputated in 2003.
The commission, presided over by Justice VB Gupta, has ordered Dr Sanjay Saluja, who runs an orthopedics and physiotherapy clinic in Sector 8, to pay the comensation by a demand draft within three months. The commission held that Dr Saluja treated Ahluwalia in a ‘casual manner’ when his leg got fractured while playing in school.
Abhishek’s mother Anuradha Ahluwalia had approached NCDRC after the Chandigarh Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission rejected her application for compensation.
The order reads, “It is Dr Saluja alone who is to be blamed for such unfortunate incident. Accordingly, we hold that medical negligence on his part is writ large in this case.”
The commission said, “The doctor had treated the patient in a casual manner and casually applied the dynacast plaster so tight that on regaining consciousness, the boy complained about acute pain in his left leg which led to formation of blisters and gangrene in the skin.”
Abhishek was a student of Class IX at St John’s School, Sector 26, when he suffered a tibia (shinbone) fracture in his left leg while playing cricket, his favourite game. The school authorities helped his mother Anuradha Ahluwalia to contact Dr Saluja’s clinic, where an X-ray was done and they were informed that it was a simple fracture.
Anuradha Ahluwalia got her son admitted at the Inscol hospital where a surgery was performed and dynacast plaster applied by Dr Saluja. After the procedure Abhishek complained of severe pain. However, the doctor said that pain was normal in such operations and would subside in two or three days.
After four days, Abhishek’s leg lost sensation and swelling started increasing. Dr Saluja then said that a minor surgical procedure of cutting the muscle to reduce pressure on the leg had to be performed. But Abhishek’s condition further deteriorated. The doctor then asked his mother to arrange for a ventilator.
Abhishek was taken to the Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, where ventilators were available. The doctors there examined him and said that he had multi-organ dysfunction and his arteries had been obstructed, causing irreparable damage to the leg muscles below the knee. Ahluwalia’s leg had to be amputated to save his life.
Abhishek, now 25-year-old, has studied law at Panjab University and is preparing for a judiciary exams. His mother said, “Since his father is into merchant navy, I wanted to see him in the same profession but he wanted to become an engineer. However, the circumstances were such that he suddenly changed his mood to pursue law.” She said that compensation was never their concern, they wanted to see the careless doctor punished.