Australian Man’s Lawsuit Against Hospital Dismissed After Claiming Psychological Damage from Watching Wife’s Cesarean Section

An Australian man’s attempt to sue a Melbourne hospital for AU$1 billion ($643 million) for psychological damage resulting from watching his wife have a cesarean section has been dismissed by the court. Anil Koppula accused the Royal Women’s Hospital of causing him to develop a “psychotic illness” after allowing him to witness the procedure in 2018. However, the court ruled that the claim was an “abuse of process” and that the injury did not meet the required threshold level for damages.

According to the lawsuit filed in the Supreme Court of Victoria, Koppula claimed that the hospital failed in its duty of care by permitting him to watch the cesarean section. He argued that seeing his wife’s organs and blood during the operation caused him psychological injury. A cesarean section is a common surgical procedure performed when a vaginal delivery poses risks to the mother or baby.

The court judgment revealed that Koppula filed the lawsuit several years after the operation, stating that it led to the onset of a “psychotic illness” and the breakdown of his marriage. However, Justice James Gorton dismissed the suit, stating that the claim did not satisfy the threshold level of psychiatric impairment required for damages.

The court proceedings included a medical examination of Koppula, which concluded that the degree of psychiatric impairment did not meet the necessary criteria. Australian legislation mandates that lawsuits seeking damages for non-economic losses must demonstrate a significant injury. Despite disagreeing with the medical panel’s conclusion, Koppula was unable to challenge its correctness.

The case was ultimately dismissed on September 12, with the court deeming the claim an “abuse of process.” The judgment highlighted that the injury did not meet the required threshold level, leading to the dismissal of the lawsuit.

This article has been updated with details from the court judgment.