The Delhi High Court has expressed concern over the mushrooming of salons extending hair transplant procedures by unqualified people without any medical supervision which puts customers at great risk.
The court said it is imperative that necessary steps are taken by Centre and Delhi government to ensure that such practices are checked, people are made aware that such procedures can be fatal, and medical protocols be framed at the national level.
Justice Anoop Kumar Mendiratta, who was dealing with a petition concerning the death of 35-year-old man allegedly on account of negligence during the process of hair transplantation at a salon in Rohini, asked the Delhi Police commissioner to ensure that similar incidents of medical malpractice are not repeated.
He also asked the top cop to ensure that action is taken against salons which are extending hair transplantation treatment/aesthetic surgery by unqualified professionals without any medical supervision in defiance of established protocols and norms.
The judge sought a status report from the authorities, including the National Medical Commission and Delhi Medical Council, and asserted that hair transplant being an aesthetic surgery needs to be performed by qualified dermatologists or trained surgeons with informed consent of the patient.
In the present case, the deceased — 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.
According to the treatment papers, the cause of death was Septic Shock with multi-organ failure in case of Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, the court noted.
“The fact that hair transplantation surgeries are being carried out in the Salons with the aid of technicians is a matter of great concern since neither they are fully qualified nor any such procedures can be carried except under supervision of a trained surgeon or dermatologist,” the court said in its order dated May 11.
“It is imperative that necessary steps are taken by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India as well as Govt. of NCT of Delhi 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 the persons who undertake the aforesaid treatment,” it stated.
Emphasising that in the absence of medical supervision, the process may pose a great risk and lead to irreversible damage or even loss of life, the court opined that it is critical to evaluate the risk-benefit ratio from the medical perspective and those performing the procedure also made aware of the medico legal issues.
“The process may even require consultation and management with other specialists in case one has been suffering from co-morbidities or any other risk bearing complications. Filling up of the consent form in such cosmetic surgeries, as such, may be important to ensure that patients give an informed consent and are aware of the procedures to be followed,” the court stated.
“The concern of this Court remains that no harm befalls on innocent patients undertaking such procedure without being aware that the same needs to be carried by professionals with requisite competence and knowledge of hair transplantation,” it added.
The present case, the court said, points out not merely a dereliction or negligence or standard of care required in such medical procedures but a complete medical malpractice.
“Requisite safeguards need to be ensured for safety of the persons 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,” it said.
“In case any such medical protocols have not been established for guidance of medical practitioners, the same need to be framed at national level, in view of upcoming aesthetic surgeries and hair transplantation procedures,” it said.
The matter would be heard next on July 27.