KUALA LUMPUR, June 3 — The High Court ruled that the delay by medical personnel in attending to a man's injury, who lost the head of his penis in a botched circumcision 12 years ago, had extinguished all hopes of a successful surgery in saving the injured part of him.
Judge Datuk Akhtar Tahir in his written judgment released on May 27, said in carrying out the circumcision on the 10-year-old child, a hospital assistant from Kuala Lipis Hospital inadvertently cut of the entire tip of the penis which is called the gland penis.
"The cut-out part of the penis was recovered and he (a hospital assistant) attempted to attach it back by stitching it back. The incident happened at about 10.30am," he said.
Akhtar said the hospital assistant had informed the Kuala Lipis Hospital about the botched circumcision at 10.45am and the hospital should have immediately prepared an ambulance to send the plaintiff to Selayang Hospital.
"However, by delaying the transfer of the plaintiff to Selayang Hospital and instead spent time in completing trivialities, the court finds the the medical officer at Kuala Lipis Hospital had breached her duty of care to provide prompt treatment," he said.
The judge further said there was further testimony that Selayang Hospital had been informed about the transfer of the plaintiff yet the medical personnel did not take steps to prepare for a possible surgery.
"There were further delay in carrying out the surgery which was carried out late in the evening some 10 hours after the incident. The court finds that the medical personnel in Selayang Hospital had breached their duty of care in delaying the surgery," the judge said.
On April 7, Akhtar awarded damages, totalling RM3.1 million to a 22-year-old man after allowing his suit against the government and four others namely Kuala Lipis Hospital’s medical officer and director and the Selayang Hospital’s specialist and director.
The man filed the suit on July 19, 2018, through his mother, claiming that the circumcision process performed on Dec 13, 2010, was not done according to the prescribed procedure, resulting in the entire head of his son’s penis to be severed.
As a result of that, she claimed that her son had suffered permanent disability and became a quiet person.
In the judgment, Akhtar said the court took note of the fact that there are two different views in the testimony of the experts called in this case.
"One view is that the delay was of no consequence as the extent of injury and as such that it was impossible to carry out a successful surgery even if the surgery was done immediately. However, the court chose to accept the testimony of the experts that a delay in the surgery had caused the impossible situation of a successful surgery," he said.
He said the court therefore concluded that the medical officers who had attended to the plaintiff had breached the duty of care and were therefore negligent in carrying out their duties and this had caused all the losses suffered by the plaintiff.
Akhtar noted that the main loss suffered by the plaintiff is the loss of the most valuable asset a man can have.
"There is definitely nothing that can replace this loss. All the shame and humiliation the plaintiff suffers is a result of this terrible loss. The mother had testified that since the age of 10 the plaintiff has entered into a shell and finds it hard to interact with others let alone develop a courage to ever marry.
"Even if the plaintiff develops the courage in the court’s view, no women knowing the plaintiff’s condition will want to marry him," the judge added. — Bernama