An Australian man, Anil Koppula, has lost a lawsuit against a hospital in which he claimed that the facility failed to prevent him from witnessing his wife’s C-section, leading to psychiatric impairment as a result of the traumatic experience.
According to Koppula, the Royal Women’s Hospital in Melbourne owed him a duty of care to prevent him from witnessing the C-section procedure, even though he had voluntarily offered to be present. In January 2018, he was allowed into the operating room during the procedure, where he witnessed his wife’s internal organs and blood.
Years later, Koppula filed a lawsuit against the hospital, seeking AU$1 billion in damages for psychological harm he alleged to have suffered due to witnessing the surgical operation. He also claimed that his marriage had collapsed as a result of the mental condition he developed, which he attributed to the hospital’s failure in its duty of care to him.
In his legal claim, Koppula asserted that he was encouraged or permitted to observe the delivery and that the hospital breached its duty of care, holding it liable for damages.
In its defense, the Royal Women’s Hospital acknowledged that it had a duty of care toward Koppula but argued that it had not breached this duty. The hospital stated that it typically allows women to have their husbands or other family members accompany them during a C-section for emotional support. However, these relatives are advised not to interfere in the procedure in any way and are informed of the specific details of the operation before choosing to witness it.
To assess the psychological impact of the C-section that Koppula had witnessed, he underwent a medical examination. The medical examination report indicated that the degree of psychiatric impairment resulting from the injury alleged in the claim did not meet the threshold level.
Despite Koppula rejecting the medical report, he failed to apply for a review, prompting the Royal Women’s Hospital to request the Supreme Court of Victoria to dismiss the case, which it subsequently did.
The case highlights the importance of individuals assessing their own emotional and psychological readiness to witness medical procedures like C-sections and taking responsibility for their own well-being in such situations.