Doctor not to blame for hair transplant going awry
MUMBAI: The state consumer commission on Thursday dismissed an appeal by a Grant Road doctor who sought compensation from a cosmetic surgeon after a Rs 5 lakh hair transplant went awry and had to be removed almost three years later in 2005. The commission said the surgeon could not be held responsible for negligence only because the transplant was unsuccessful. “There is no sufficient and cogent evidence to hold that the respondent (surgeon) was negligent while rendering services. Due to illness, she (patient) had to take anti-malarial treatment. The skin of the complainant did not allow the hair implant to continue. This may be the reason for the reaction,” the Maharashtra State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission said.
Referring to the patient’s main reason for undergoing the transplant, the commission observed, “The complainant being young lady who was hoping for settlement of marriage, her baldness was the main hurdle. The only inference is that to overcome this difficulty, she preferred to go for implantation of hair and to continue with the procedure despite a reaction in first test,” the commission said. The commission also accepted the surgeon’s contention that she wore a wig during treatment despite being strictly instructed not to do so.
The woman had filed the appeal before the commission in 2011, after a district forum rejected her complaint. She said that by the age of 14 she became bald due to a medical condition (Alopecia Universalis) and was compelled to wear a wig. She said she had opted for the transplant after reading an article about the procedure. After examining her, the surgeon informed her that the hair and medicines would be imported from Italy and she would need 10,000 bio-fibers at a cost of Rs 5 lakh. The woman claimed she raised the money with great difficulty and after conducting two patch tests, the first to which she had an adverse reaction, the final transplant commenced from May 20, 2005 with 500 hair strands implanted per week.
She alleged that after two months her scalp began to break out into boils and there was puss and bleeding. The woman said the surgeon advised her to wear a wig and continued the transplant. However, due to a continuous reaction after the procedure was completed in September 2009, it had to be removed in 2008. The patient filed a complaint before the district forum in 2009.
The commission, however, said that if during the implantation the woman had a serious problem, she would not have consented to further treatment. “The educated complainant doctor could have refused to undergo the treatment, when she noticed a reaction on the scalp. It cannot be accepted that the educated medico did not get instructions from the treating doctor and she had undergone the hair implantation without understanding the pros and cons,” the commission said.