DR. ENCARNACION C. LUMANTAS, M.D.,vs.HANZ CALAPIZ G.R. No. 163753, January 15, 2014

Facts:
On January 16, 1995, Spouses Hilario Calapiz, Jr. and HerlitaCalapiz brought their 8-year-old son, HanzCalapiz (Hanz), for an emergency appendectomy. Hanz was attended to by the petitioner, who suggested to the parents that Hanz also undergo circumcision at no added cost to spare him the pain. With the parents’ consent, the petitioner performed the coronal type of circumcision on Hanz after his appendectomy. On the following day, Hanz complained of pain in his penis, which exhibited blisters. His testicles were swollen. The parents noticed that the child urinated abnormally after the petitioner forcibly removed the catheter, but the petitioner dismissed the abnormality as normal. On January 30, 1995, Hanz was discharged from the hospital over his parents’ protestations, and was directed to continue taking antibiotics.On February 8, 1995, Hanz was confined in a hospital because of the abscess formation between the base and the shaft of his penis. Presuming that the ulceration was brought about by Hanz’s appendicitis, the petitioner referred him to Dr. Henry Go, an urologist, who diagnosed the boy to have a damaged urethra. Thus, Hanz underwent cystostomy, and thereafter was operated on three times to repair his damaged urethra.When his damaged urethra could not be fully repaired and reconstructed, Hanz’s parents brought a criminal charge against the petitioner for reckless imprudence resulting to serious physical injuries.

At the trial, the Prosecution presented several witnesses, including Dr. Rufino Agudera as an expert witness and as the physician who had operated on Hanz twice to repair the damaged urethra. Dr. Agudera testified that Hanz had been diagnosed to have urethral stricture and cavernosal injury left secondary to trauma that had necessitated the conduct of two operations to strengthen and to lengthen the urethra. Although satisfactorily explaining that the injury to the urethra had been caused by trauma, Dr. Agudera could not determine the kind of trauma that had caused the injury.

In his defense, the petitioner denied the charge. He contended that at the time of his examination of Hanz on January 16, 1995, he had found an accumulation of pus at the vicinity of the appendix two to three inches from the penis that had required immediate surgical operation; that after performing the appendectomy, he had circumcised Hanz with his parents’ consent by using a congo instrument, thereby debunking the parents’ claim that their child had been cauterized; that he had then cleared Hanz on January 27, 1995 once his fever had subsided; that he had found no complications when Hanz returned for his follow up check-up on February 2, 1995; and that the abscess formation between the base and the shaft of the penis had been brought about by Hanz’s burst appendicitis.

RTC acquitted the petitioner of the crime charged for insufficiency of the evidence. Nonetheless, the RTC ruled that the petitioner was liable for moral damages because there was a preponderance of evidence showing that Hanz had received the injurious trauma from his circumcision by the petitioner and ordering him to pay HanzCalapiz₱50,000.00 as moral damages. No costs.On appeal, the CA affirmed the RTC, sustaining the award of moral damages. The petitioner moved for reconsideration, but was denied.

Issue:
Whether or not petitioner did not exercise the required standard of care in the medical profession to hold him criminally liable.

Ruling:
No, prosecution failed to show that petitioner did not exercise the required standard of care under similar circumstances.
General rule, every person criminally liable for a felony is also civilly liable. Although, the acquittal of an accused of the crime charged does not necessarily extinguish his civil liability. Likewise, the acquittal for insufficiency of the evidence did not require that the complainant’s recovery of civil liability should be through the institution of a separate civil action for that purpose.
Here, the failure of the Prosecution to prove the petitioner’s criminal negligence with moral certainty did not forbid a finding against the petitioner that there was preponderant evidence of his negligence to hold him civilly liable.The undesirable outcome of the circumcision performed by the petitioner forced the young child to endure several other procedures on his penis in order to repair his damaged urethra. His physical and moral sufferings properly warranted the amount of ₱50,000.00 awarded as moral damages. The Court AFFIRMS the decision.

credit:

Glutton Arch 

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