Justice Anoop Kumar Mendiratta highlighted that such salons operated “completely in teeth of medical ethics and in defiance of standard protocol”, while directing the Centre and Delhi government to ensure that such practices were checked, people made aware that such procedures could be fatal, and medical protocols framed at the national level.
The judge was dealing with a petition concerning the death of a 35-year-old man, allegedly on account of negligence during the hair transplantation process at a salon in Rohini. The victim, who paid Rs 30,000 for the procedure, developed a painful scalp followed by swelling on the face and shoulders and subsequently passed away during the course of treatment at a hospital.
Taking a grim view, the court asked the Delhi Police commissioner to ensure that similar incidents of medical malpractice were not repeated and ensure that action was taken against such salons.
The court also sought a status report from the authorities, including National Medical Commission and Delhi Medical Council, and asserted that hair transplant being an aesthetic surgery needed to be performed by qualified dermatologists or trained surgeons with informed consent of the patient.
According to the treatment papers, the cause of death was septic shock with multi-organ failure in case of Stevens-Johnson Syndrome. “The fact that hair transplantation surgeries are being carried out in salons with the aid of technicians is a matter of great concern since neither are they fully qualified nor any such procedures can be carried except under supervision of a trained surgeon or dermatologist,” the court observed.
“It is imperative that necessary steps are taken by the Union ministry of health and family welfare as well as Delhi government to ensure that such mushrooming salons carrying hair transplantation procedures under unprofessional hands without requisite qualification and in absence of medical supervision are checked. Requisite safeguards need to be ensured for safety of people who undertake the aforesaid treatment,” the court stated.
Justice Mendiratta further stated, “The process may even require consultation and management with other specialists in case one has been suffering from comorbidities or any other risk-bearing complications. Filling up the consent form in such cosmetic surgeries, as such, may be important to ensure that patients give informed consent and are aware of the procedures to be followed.”
It was underlined how due to lack of medical supervision, the process may pose a great risk and lead to irreversible damage or even loss of life, adding that it was critical to evaluate the risk-benefit ratio from the medical perspective and those performing the procedure were also made aware of the medico-legal issues.
“The concern of this court remains that no harm befalls on innocent patients undertaking such procedures without being aware that the same needs to be carried out by professionals with requisite competence and knowledge of hair transplantation,” the court added.
The court stated, “Requisite safeguards need to be ensured for the safety of people who undertake the aforesaid treatment. Also, the public at large needs to be made aware that such hair transplantation procedures/aesthetic surgeries can be fatal at the hands of unqualified professionals, which require strict medical supervision.”
“In case any such medical protocols have not been established for guidance of medical practitioners, the same need to be framed at the national level in view of upcoming aesthetic surgeries and hair transplantation procedures,” added the court, while posting the matter for review in July.