Ahmedabad: For allegedly sealing up a patient’s belly button during abdominoplasty, the Ahmedabad District Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission has ordered a city-based aesthetic plastic surgeon to pay Rs 2 lakh to the patient as compensation.
The case concerns a 43-year-old patient, who had approached Dr Vishal Patel at his city-based clinic, Indo – Brasilian Aesthetic Surgery Centre in 2013, seeking treatment for rashes on her neck. However, seeing the obese condition of the patient, the doctor also recommended a body shaping procedure.
In view of advice given by Dr Patel, she underwent an abdominoplasty and excessive fat from her abdomen was removed. Accordingly, she was advised to come for regular follow-ups.
The patient complained that she did not feel that she was on the benefiting side following the procedure. “I found myself in a pitiable condition as my belly button had disappeared after the surgery,” she stated in her petition adding that she also developed white patches at the surgical site.
Two years later in the year 2015, the patient’s weight shot up to 115kg, and once again she went to Dr Patel for consultation, who advised her to undergo bariatric surgery.
Dissatisfied, she filed a complaint against Dr Patel in 2016 with the Ahmedabad District Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission suing him for removing her navel without her consent and for the “belly-flopping” of surgery. She stated in her petition that she ‘couldn’t stomach the fact that she gained weight after the tummy tuck procedure.’
In her petition, she further added ‘as she was overweight, the doctor persuaded her to undergo surgery that would help her shed 35kg and bring her back into shape’, as per a recent report by TOI.
During the hearing of the case, which was held recently, Dr Patel denied that fact that the belly button had been removed without informing the patient and he also submitted that the patient had clearly hadn’t taken proper care during post-operative treatment.
It was also informed to the court that the surgery was for “reshaping of the body” and not for slashing of kilos. She had approached him for the surgical removal of excess skin and fat from her abdomen and to correct her navel’s shape, Dr Patel added in his defence.
After hearing all the contentions and records of photographs submitted, the court observed, “The woman’s navel could not be seen and there was only a stretch mark on its part (where the surgery was performed).”
In its conclusion, the court held that the patient had suffered damage and concluded,
“The doctor failed to provide service as an aesthetic surgeon because the woman’s belly button was sealed…. The damage was caused due to negligence as her weight increased and she suffered mental agony.”
The daily adds that besides awarding her Rs 2 lakh with 8% interest, the court asked the doctor to pay her Rs 7,000 extra for other costs calling his alleged negligence as an “unsolicited cover-up”.