An individual of Indian descent in Australia, Anil Koppula, has had his legal claim against a Melbourne institution, the Royal Women’s Hospital, rejected. Koppula had pursued legal action against the hospital for permitting him to witness his spouse’s cesarean section birth in 2018.
He asserted that this experience led to the development of a ‘psychotic illness.’ As per a judgement from the Supreme Court of Victoria, reported by 7 NEWS, Koppula had sought damages amounting to 1 billion Australian dollars, which is equivalent to roughly 55,000 crore Indian Rupees (INR).
Anil Koppula, who is of Indian origin, lodged a statement of claim several years after the fact, alleging that the staff at the specialised Royal Women’s Hospital in Melbourne had either encouraged or permitted him to witness his wife’s childbirth, during which he experienced severe psychological trauma. He further claimed that this experience contributed to the dissolution of his marriage.
Koppula contended that the Royal Women’s Hospital had breached its duty of care towards him, a claim that was challenged by the hospital’s legal team. Although the hospital acknowledged that their staff owed Koppula a duty of care, they argued that he could not seek damages for non-economic loss without demonstrating a “significant injury”, as mandated by Victoria state law.
A Medical Panel was convened to assess the claimant’s psychiatric impairment, ultimately determining that it did not meet the threshold of significance. Nevertheless, Koppula, representing himself, persisted in seeking damages for being allowed to witness a procedure that ultimately resulted in a successful childbirth.
A cesarean section, commonly known as a C-section, involves delivering a baby “through a cut made in your tummy and womb,” according to the NHS. This procedure is performed when there are concerns about potential complications for either the mother or the baby during childbirth.
Despite his inability to challenge the panel’s findings, Koppula continued to pursue his claim. On Monday, Justice James Gorton, in delivering the judgement, deemed the lawsuit legally invalid and characterised it as an “abuse of process”.
Koppula underwent a medical examination, during which a panel concluded that “the degree of psychiatric impairment resulting from the injury to the claimant alleged in the claim does not satisfy the threshold level.” Although he disagreed with the panel’s assessment, he did not seek a review of their determination.
Subsequently, the hospital made an application to have the legal proceedings dismissed.
Justice Gorton said, “I am therefore satisfied that the legal effect of the Medical Panel’s determination is that Mr Koppula is simply unable, as a matter of law, to recover damages for non-economic loss.”