New Delhi: The Supreme Court has recently admitted a plea of a Bengali actor who has sought damages of Rs 1 crore on grounds of medical negligence by doctors who performed nasal surgery on him.
The actor, Mrinmoy Dutta, who has acted in some Bengali TV serials and movies, had previously filed a petition with West Bengal Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission as well as the NCDRC. The actor informed that he had undergone septoplasty about 20 years ago and Rhinoplasty with bone-graft about 12 years ago, both botched up, because of which his facial looks had been affected and his acting career took a hit. Further, between 29.09.2005 to 29.12.2014, the patient was treated by seven Doctors in 13 Medical Institutions and underwent five operations, none of which satisfied him.
Before the state forum, he listed the following allegations:-
- The doctors made the operation of the nose with a vertical incision through columella and tip, the result of which caused the scar which extended from base to the tip on the top of the nose and to avoid such problem the doctors tried to hide the scar and dis-positioned the tip by bending it down.
- Due to such negligence on the part of the doctors, there was difficulty in the function of the Ala muscles of the nose which caused a problem in breathing.
- Due to non-clearing the right passage properly Dutta has been facing the problem of suffocation even during sleep.
- The doctors had done the stitch from inside the nose to pull down the skin tightly to hide the scar and never advised or cared to cut the stitch even after the lapse of six months from the date of operation which caused tremendous pain and suffering in the nose. The doctors had done the stitch in such negligent manner and using such type of materials that even after the lapse of six months the said stitch did not dissolve.
- Dutta suffered a lot due to the scar which changed the facial position and affecting the beauty of the face.
- Due to such problem, the Dutta could not afford time and devotion in his professional life as an actor which caused financial loss and suffering apart from mental agony and pain.
The Counsel appearing for the treating Doctor before the State Commission argued before the court that the Complainant suffered from Body Dysmorphophobia, i.e. Body image disorder which is a psychiatric condition in which the patient is not happy with his looks.
After observing arguments made by both the parties, the actor’s plea was dismissed as the State forum found no medical negligence from doctors’ part. Against this, the actor approached the NCDRC, which, with the help of the amicus curiae, awarded a lump sum compensation of Rs. 5 lakhs towards the mental agony suffered, while taking into consideration that the complainant underwent several procedures on his nose subsequent to the Rhinoplasty performed, and had undergone a lot of mental agonies.
Dissatisfied, the actor filed a writ petition with the Supreme Court. News18 reports that the actor presented himself and made arguments during the hearing, after observing the same, the bench of Justices J Chelameswar and Sanjay K Kaul decided to scrutinize whether he ought to be compensated for the same or not.
In his submission, he added he was being treated since 1986 but he has restricted his claim of compensation to the doctors who attended to him since 2005. Around dozen doctors, mostly from Kolkata are named in his petition.
Responding to the arguments made by the actor, the bench noted, “It is a case of the petitioner that he had a promising professional acting career which has been greatly affected by these treatment/interventions affecting his looks.”
While agreeing to find out if there is a medical negligence on part of the doctors or not, the bench stated, “To proceed further in the matter, there has to be first a determination as to whether there was any medical negligence, if any, and if so, by whom.”
The court further concluded, “We consider it appropriate that a Medical Board should be constituted of the requisite specialists by the Director of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi. The board of specialists’ doctors will examine Dutta and shall submit the report within three months. If the board considers it appropriate to suggest a course of treatment that may also form part of the report.”
Subsequently, the AIIMS director has constituted the board.