By Rosie Wilson.
Mr. Shiva Singh, a 66-year-old London based plastic surgeon, is being taken to court by a former patient over claims that he botched her tummy-tuck procedure at private Highgate Hospital, and that she is still having health complications four years later.
Eileen Harbour, 64, is attempting to sue Singh for over £100,000, saying that the surgery left her with unsightly scarring which made her look like she ‘had three belly buttons.’ Singh strongly denies any negligence.
Harbour claims that the surgery has led to a myriad of medical problems, including a partial collapse in her right lung, a suspected E. Coli infection in her wound and breathing difficulties. She states that she is still affected by shortness of breath as a result of the procedure and that it causes her trouble swimming and walking uphill. Another lasting effect, according to Ms. Harbour, is the ‘embarrassment’ she feels from her excessive scarring. She also says that although Singh told her to quit smoking prior to her operation, she was not made aware of the increased risk of infection to ex-smokers and overweight people.
Singh counters this, however, claiming to have told Harbour ‘a number of times’ that her lifestyle choices could impact her post-surgery health. He also says he informed her of these risks in two consent forms signed by Harbour. According to Singh, Harbour’s shortness of breath could be the result of the anaesthesia, rather than anything he did.
He also says that she may have taken smoking back up post-procedure, despite being warned of the risks, as she apparently turned up smelling of stale smoke on at least two of her three post-operation consultations. Singh claims that Harbour did not complain of any breathing difficulties until about 7 months after her surgery.
Mr. Singh has gained a level of fame for being a ‘cosmetic surgeon to the stars.’ In 2004, he performed a televised breast augmentation on porn actress Cathy Barry, to fulfil her wishes of having the ‘industry’s largest breasts.’ When asked about the procedure by the London Evening Standard, Singh said: “That was a long time ago.”
He went on to say that fellow practitioners found it ‘inconceivable’ that he would have been at fault for Harbour’s health complaints, and states he acted with the standard of care of a ‘reasonably competent’ surgeon.
The case continues.