A businessman who feared ending up looking like Michael Jackson if he had cosmetic surgery on his nose has won £26,000 after an operation left him with lifelong scars.
Rugby playing entrepreneur, Carl Egonu, 49, became “depressed and withdrawn” after part of his nose was left “raised and shiny”, and darker than surrounding skin, following the private operation at the Plymouth Nuffield Hospital in March 2006.
The “dermabrasion” operation left a patch of “dark smooth scar” on the top of his nose, which Judge Christopher Gardner QC described as “a significant cosmetic defect which he will have to bear for the rest of his life”.
Although the sportsman has now managed to put his scar “to the back of his mind“, the judge said there was no doubt it had badly affected him and he even had a session of hypnotherapy to come to terms with the blemish.
“He said that the resultant appearance of his nose is something that people – including his own children – tend to ask him about, and the experts agree that attempts to camouflage or skin graft will not assist”.
Mr Egonu, a building surveyor from Plymouth, sued the cosmetic surgeon who operated on him privately, Dr Adeshola Adeniran, who also carries out an NHS role as a locum consultant at Derriford Hospital.
Mr Egonu’s lawyers made no criticism of the medic’s surgical skills, but said he failed to warn about the possible risks of the procedure, which was meant to “streamline” his rugby-battered nose, and lend it a “cleaner, smoother profile”.
“Having reached an age where he had finished playing rugby – in which sport his nose had been injured on occasions but not fractured – he consulted Dr Adeniran to ascertain whether the shape of his nose, the bulbous tip of which he felt was too large, could be made more streamlined, and at the same time some small acne lumps could be removed or reduced – although they were not his main concern,” said the judge.
Because Mr Egonu is black, the surgery carried a higher risk of causing “hyper-pigmented” scarring, resulting in darker complexioned areas of skin, his lawyers claimed.
He had wanted the “size of his nose reduced” by the procedure, the county court heard, and believed there was no risk of “permanent adverse scarring”.
Dr Adeniran, however, insisted that he gave Mr Egonu a “strengthened” warning about the potential downsides of the operation.
At their initial consultation, he claimed Mr Egonu told him he had a “good knowledge” about the options open to him, but said he “didn’t want a rhinoplasty as he did not want to do a Michael Jackson”.
Mr Egonu was awarded a total of £26,000, although Dr Adeniran’s QC, Richard Wilson, had urged the judge to reduce that figure as the scar was only visible at a “conversational” distance.
The case reached London’s Appeal Court as Dr Adeniran challenged the county court ruling. His lawyers argued that he gave his patient an “express warning” about the risks of the procedure.
Lady Justice Hallett, sitting with Lord Justice McFarlane, said the county court judge found that Mr Egonu gave consistent evidence, refusing Dr Adeniran permission to appeal and confirming Mr Egonu’s pay-out.