The family of an MBBS student who died of dengue in 2006 while studying at AIIMS has been awarded Rs 50 lakh compensation. The Delhi State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, which ordered AIIMS to pay the compensation, said the premier medical institute dealt with the matter casually and took things lightly as if the life of the patient had no value, reported The Times of India.

Noting that getting admission in AIIMS’s MBBS course was an extraordinary feat in itself, Commission member (judicial) 0 P Gupta said the student’s parents had great hope that their child would become a good doctor. Raj Kiran Kamala had passed away at the ICU of the premier institution. The 20-year-old student was in the seventh semester of the course when he died. He had stood second in the AIIMS entrance examination.

What happened to Raj Kiran Kamala at AIIMS
On September 27, 2006, Raj Kiran Kamala complained of fever and went to the emergency room of AIIMS. The 20-year-old was sent back to his room after a few hours even though his condition needed urgent attention. The medical report showed his hematocrit (blood concentration) count was at 50 percent, while his platelets count had come down to 1.05 lakh. The student was also suffering from gastrointestinal bleeding, said the TOI report.

A resident doctor attended to him the following day and advised hospitalisation after diagnosing him with dengue hemorrhagic fever. While the doctor attended him at 3.45 pm, Kamala was provided with a bed only at 10.35 pm. As his condition worsened, the doctors admitted him to ICU on September 29. 2006.

During the treatment, Kamala suffered a cardiac arrest, but was revived and then admitted to the neurosurgery ICU. The student was put on life support for the next 24 hours but was declared dead on September 30, 2006.

Can a student be termed Consumer?
Vijay Kumar, Kamala’s father, took the matter to the consumer commission contending that an extraordinary medical professional, such as his son, could have easily earned Rs 1.5-2 lakh per month. Kumar sought Rs 96 lakh compensation citing his son’s prospective monthly salary of Rs 60,000. AIIMS, however, objected to the claim saying that he was not a consumer.

At AIIMS, no charges are charged on patients and therefore the institute does not come under the ambit of the Consumer Protection Act, the institute contended. AIIMS also argued that the father had already been given Rs 2 lakh as ex-gratia.