Right after giving birth to her child, a doctor performed a nightmarish procedure on a new mother all because her eager husband requested it.
When an expecting mother heads to the hospital with labor pains, she assumes that her doctor will do everything in their power to ensure that she and her baby are healthy and safe. What she doesn’t anticipate is leaving the hospital with an extra surgical procedure that she didn’t authorize, especially one that is detrimental, dangerous, and illegal.
After a woman gave birth at a British medical center, she was left to rest and heal from the harrowing labor. However, just hours after delivering her precious newborn, a doctor who took an oath to do no harm executed an unethical and unlawful operation on his helpless patient.
While a 24-year-old new mother recovered from an intense and difficult labor, her delivery doctor entered her room and performed a secret surgical procedure at Whittington Hospital in north London. Without her consent, junior registrar of obstetrics and gynecology Dr. Dhanuson Dharmasena, 32, carried out an illegal and dangerous female genital mutilation (FGM) on the woman at her husband Hasan Mohamed’s request, the Independent reports.
Despite understanding the high risk of infection, hemorrhage, and even death in some cases, Dharmasena performed FGM on the young woman, sewing her genitals up in a disfiguring manner. Even more disturbing is that the surgery was carried out at the request of Mohamed, who wanted his wife’s privates stitched almost completely shut in accordance with the traditional type 3 FGM procedure.
Female genital mutilation puts both the mother and baby at risk.
London’s Southwark Crown Court heard that the woman initially underwent female genital mutilation at age 6 in her home country of Somali, where up to 98 percent of girls and women have been mutilated. Because her 18-year-old stitches ripped during the delivery, her husband asked the doctor to sew her back up in a manner consistent with FGM.
“It is that stitching back together by Dr Dharmasena, and Mr Mohamed’s insistence or encouragement, which the prosecution says is an offence under the Act,” prosecutor Kate Bex told the jury.
“What Dr Dharmasena did… was against the policy of his employer, the Whittington Hospital. That policy is written and available to all midwives, nurses, obstetricians and students at the Whittington and Dr Dharmasena was expected to be aware of it,” she concluded.
The prosecutor reiterated that female genital mutilation can also increase the risk of death in childbirth to both the mother and baby. She argued that Dr. Dharmasena should have refused to sew up the victim “unless medically necessary,” as the procedure itself produces far greater risks than benefits.
Dharmasena claimed that he had no idea that FGM was illegal in Britain when he performed the procedure. He was found not guilty by a jury when they determined that he carried out the procedure, despite several medical professionals advising against it, in an effort to save the woman’s life, The Guardian reports. The case is particularly bizarre, considering that Dharmasena was acquitted due to intent, despite undeniably performing an illegal procedure.
The case has sparked debate over whether doctors should be held accountable for performing certain procedures without the patient’s consent in life-threatening cases. This incident is particularly controversial, as the procedure itself is considered life-threatening as well. Whatever the outcome, it is a conversation the West has been forced to have since more cases of FGM have sprung up over recent years.