Indian-origin doctor in Britain cleared of genital mutilation charge

London, April 12: A medical tribunal in Britain has cleared an Indian-origin doctor of allegedly performing female genital mutilation on a woman during a routine plastic surgery.

Sureshkumar Pandya, a general practitioner, who did a routine labiaplasty surgery on a 33-year-old woman in East London’s Regency Clinic in March 2012, has been accused of botching up the procedure and mutilating the genitals of the woman, identified only as A, in the process.

The panel found the anatomical result of the procedure could be said “to be equivalent to Female Genital Mutilation’(FGM),” but cleared Pandya of the charge as he did not intend to perform the operation on the woman, Daily Mail reported Friday.

The woman said that the surgery left her feeling “violated and butchered” with virtually the same effects as genital mutilation, the Manchester tribunal heard.

Chair Anthony Morgan said there has been insufficient evidence to prove that Pandya set out to remove all or virtually all of Patient A’s labia minora or vaginal lips.

“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 chair was quoted as saying.

The General Medical Council (GMC) had last year alleged that the doctor was acting beyond his competence and the results were the equivalent of FGM.

Pandya, in his defence, contended that there was nothing unusual about the operation and the procedure.

On being probed about his intention of performing FGM, Pandya said: “I am very much against it.”I have never done it and I do not think I would ever do it and I did not intend to perform it on this patient.”

Pandya’s counsel argued that a single clinical error along with admitted record keeping deficiencies was not enough for the panel to reach a finding of misconduct against the doctor, the report said.

Labiaplasty is the most common type of women’s cosmetic genital surgery in Britain and can be carried out in any National Health Service (NHS) centre.

The doctor could still face sanctions over the bungled operation and admitted record keeping errors if the panel finds his errors amounted to serious misconduct.