The Court of Appeal in Putrajaya has made a significant reduction in the compensation amount awarded to a young man who suffered a grievous injury during a circumcision procedure 13 years ago. The initial sum of RM3.1 million has now been adjusted to RM123,556.
This decision was rendered by a three-judge panel, with Datuk Ravintharan Paramaguru leading alongside Datuk See Mee Chun and Justice Mohamed Zaini Mazlan. They reached this verdict based on their assessment that the original compensation amount was excessive and some of the claims lacked substantiating evidence.
In clarifying their stance, the judges emphasized that they did not intend to challenge the previous judgment regarding liability. It was established in that judgment that all the appellants had acted negligently by delaying the necessary medical treatment for the respondent (the young man), resulting in surgery being performed only at 8:30 pm.
However, when it came to determining the compensation amount, the panel believed it was necessary to intervene. They found that certain claims, such as legal costs and loss of income for childcare, were dismissed due to insufficient supporting evidence. Moreover, they deemed the general compensation of RM2,000,000 to be unreasonably high and unsupported by adequate documentation. Consequently, they decided to award a reduced amount of RM100,000 for general compensation.
Additionally, exemplary and punitive damages, each initially valued at RM500,000, were also eliminated from consideration as they were not included in the original pleadings.
The appellants in this case included the Government of Malaysia, a Medical Officer from Kuala Lipis Hospital, Pahang, a Hospital Director, a specialist doctor, and the Director of Selayang Hospital, Selangor. They were legally represented by Senior Federal Counsel Nurhafizza Azizan.
On April 7, 2022, a Kuala Lumpur High Court judge ruled in favor of the victim, ordering all the defendants (the appellants in the current proceedings) to pay him RM3.1 million in damages. This amount encompassed a special compensation claim of RM108,356, general compensation of RM2 million, severe compensation of RM500,000, exemplary compensation of RM500,000, and costs of RM100,000, collectively owed by all the defendants.
The incident at the center of this lawsuit took place at the victim's home in Kuala Lipis when he was just 10 years old. During a circumcision procedure, the victim's entire genitals were severed, and the subsequent reattachment procedure was not carried out according to established protocols. The accident occurred at 10:30 in the morning, and the victim was subsequently transferred to Kuala Lipis Hospital. Later that day, at 3:20 in the afternoon, he was taken to Selayang Hospital, where he underwent surgery at 8:30 in the evening.
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Following 35 days of hospitalization, the victim's mother was dismayed to discover that her son's genitals were no longer attached. Medical reports confirmed that the victim had lost 90 percent of his genitals.
The full judgment issued by High Court Judge Datuk Akhtar Tahir acknowledged the delays and negligence of Kuala Lipis Hospital, Selayang Hospital, and several medical officers, including a specialist doctor, in promptly addressing the victim's injury 12 years ago. Judge Akhtar recognized that no financial compensation could fully compensate for the suffering experienced by the victim. Nevertheless, the court aimed to provide compensation that would alleviate the burden on the victim and his family as they strive to regain their confidence and reintegrate into society.
Source: Utusan Malaysia