Panel Finds Surgeon Put Commercial Interests Ahead Of Patient Safety
A cosmetic surgeon has been struck off after the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) found that he was “subordinating his proper responsibilities as a doctor to the pursuit of a commercial enterprise.”
Krishnamurthi Nulliah, who advertised his services at the Harley Health Clinic on offers site Groupon, failed to adequately examine patients, take a proper history, or obtain informed consent. The MPTS also found he also took a deposit on the first consultation and committed vulnerable patients to surgery without a “cooling off” period.
The panel, chaired by the barrister David Kyle, heard evidence from four patients given under oath, which described how two of the patients had come to Mr Nulliah after seeing television programmes about the Bodytite procedure - a form of radiofrequency assisted liposuction designed to tighten skin and remove fat.
Another patient had bought a Groupon voucher for treatment and consultation at a Harley Health Clinic in London. The woman, referred to as Patient C, bought the online offer for £1,500 for treatment of two areas plus a nutritional consultation.
All four patients reported that Mr Nulliah had failed to discuss the risks of surgery or suggested alternatives such as dieting and exercise.
Mr Nulliah told one patient, who asked for more time to consider, that his diary was booking up quickly and that she would need to leave a 50 per cent deposit to secure the date.
He also offered a discount to one patient if she agreed to treatment of more areas than she had originally enquired about.
Expert witnesses noted that the clinic’s consent forms did not mention two of the most important risks—facial nerve paralysis and skin undulation. Nulliah had appeared willing to delegate the process of informing the patient about risk, the panel said.
After hearing evidence the panel found it was “disingenuous of Mr Nulliah to suggest that he did not have an interest in the commercial success” of the Harley Health Clinic.
Read more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise relating to cosmetic surgery claims
Patient safety rather than commercial gain must be the top priority of all surgeons, regardless of whether they work in the private sector or NHS.
“Under no circumstances should cosmetic surgery be considered lightly and surgeons have a duty to inform patients of alternative options available to them, as well as to make them aware of any associated risks with procedures.
“We have been calling for greater regulation of the cosmetic industry to protect patient safety for years, after seeing an increasing number of potential claims involving practitioners that are taking advantage of discount-led websites and adverts, and ultimately exposing patients to harm.
“We hope the outcome of this MPTS hearing serves as a warning to cosmetic surgeons that they are not above the law and that providing a sub-standard service will not be tolerated.”
Julianne Moore - Partner