A UK dermatologist has received £6000 (almost $8000) damages in a defamation case against a former patient who complained on a blog about receiving the “worst liposuction ever”.
Dr Aikaterini Charakida, a consultant dermatologist in London, sued the patient Hollie Jackson over her blogpost complaining about the Vaser liposuction performed at a private clinic in Kensington.
The British High Court accepted Dr Charakida’s claim that the blog had made baseless allegations about her conducting a liposuction procedure in an incompetent and unprofessional manner, handling the patient with needless roughness, and wrongly failing to use anaesthetic, causing needless pain and with a poor result.
Dr Charakida made a claim for damages, saying four patients had cancelled procedure bookings because of the derogatory comments on the patient’s blog post which stated that the liposuction had been done in a backroom premises and without adequate analgesia.
The doctor had demanded Ms Jackson take down the blog in a letter of claim last year but the patient did not respond or take down the comments and did not take part in the proceedings despite being named as defendant.
The case was handled as an expedited “paper disposal”, which can see a default judgement made without a hearing if the defendant has not acknowledged the action.
Dr Charakida claimed eight imputations of defamation and asked for special damages for loss of earnings. The presiding judge Justice Warby agreed on five of the eight as defamatory and said the burden was on the defendant to assert the truth of the allegations.
He granted an injunction requiring removal of the defamatory words from the website and prohibiting the patient from publishing similar material.
However he said the injunction had limits and would not prevent the patient making claims of clinical negligence against the doctor as part of a complaint to medical regulatory bodies
He awarded Dr Charakida £6000 in general damages which he thought “an appropriate sum” for allegations “levelled at a consultant dermatologist whom I must presume to be of good character and reputation, which have been read by several people online and have resulted in a number of cancellations.”