Hoxton doctor cleared of carrying out female genital mutilation in botched surgery

Dr Sureshkumar Pandya.

Dr Sureshkumar Pandya. - Credit: Central News

A doctor who bungled a cosmetic “designer vagina” operation was found to have committed a “serious clinical failure”, but it did not amount to female genital mutilation (FGM) a tribunal has ruled.

The Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service has decided not to strike Dr Sureshkumar Pandya off the medical registrar following the surgery he carried out at Hoxton’s Regency Clinic in March 2012 to reduce the size of his patient’s “excessively large” labia.

The woman, known only as Patient A, was “distraught” by the results of the labiaplasty carried out at the Nile Street clinic. But the medic had no reason to believe there was anything “unusual” until a complaint was made to the General Medical Council (GMC) several weeks later.

Dr Pandya did concede that his record-keeping failed to detail discussions with the patient, particularly in respect of the risks.

A fitness to practice panel hearing in Manchester decided Dr Pandya had almost completely excised the patient’s labia minora, after hearing from three doctors who all examined the woman, who did not come to give evidence herself.

Claims by Dr Pandya that “self-harm” by the patient could partly explain the almost complete absence of the labia minora were dismissed by the panel, which concluded Dr Pandya’s operation amounted to a “serious clinical failure”.

However the GMC’s allegation that the “botched” procedure also damaged her clitoris - with the anatomical result equivalent to FGM - was refuted, because it could not be proven Dr Pandya carried out the procedure with the intention to perform FGM.

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The MPTS panel, which was chaired by Dr Anthony Morgan said it was clear from the theatre logs that Dr Pandya was carrying out female genital cosmetic surgery, and that Patient A came to the clinic of her own volition to have this procedure carried out.

“The panel has been provided with testimonial evidence which speaks of you being a competent, skilled and highly regarded practitioner,” its report concludes.

“In your evidence you stated that you were totally against the practice of FGM and would not have any reason to carry it out. In the light of your character and the testimony you gave the Panel accepts this.”

The panel cleared Dr Pandya of misconduct and decided not to issue him with a formal warning, bearing in mind the mitigating factors, noting his previous good history, the fact that this was an isolated incident, that he has indicated he does not intend to carry out genital surgery in the future, the steps he has taken to improve his record keeping, and the range of supportive testimonials.