Man sues hospital after watching wife’s “traumatic” caesarean

03 NOV 2023

 

Koppula v The Royal Women’s Hospital (Sandringham Hospital) [2023] VSC 544

Recently, the Supreme Court of Victoria heard a case which made headlines around the world.

Mr Koppula sued Sandringham Hospital, alleging that he had been “encouraged” to observe his wife’s caesarean section delivery. He claimed to have suffered a significant psychological illness, primarily because he saw his wife’s internal organs and blood, which left him “horrified” and “traumatised’. He said that due to his acute psychiatric illness, his marriage had broken down and he was suffering from permanent disabilities, including ongoing trauma.

As a result, Mr Koppula was seeking $1 billion in compensation for pain and suffering. He did not instruct lawyers – he was self-represented throughout the proceedings.  

The Hospital argued that it did not breach its duty of care to Mr Koppula, and that he had not actually sustained an injury as a result of witnessing the medical procedure.

The matter was referred to a medical panel, to determine whether the injury was above the threshold level. The panel found that the injury was “not a significant injury”, Mr Koppula was therefore statute-barred from claiming any compensation for pain and suffering.

The Hospital applied to the Court to have the matter dismissed, on the basis that it was an “abuse of process”, and that the Plaintiff had not suffered any recognisable loss. The Court agreed and the proceedings were dismissed.

This case is a reminder that Courts have the power to dismiss proceedings, if they are determined to be an abuse of process, frivolous or vexatious.

 

The contents of this publication are for reference purposes only. This publication does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Specific legal advice should always be sought separately before taking any action based on this publication.

 

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