Published: 25 Jul 2017 | By Kia Kyhl

Carvalho Pinto de Sousa Morais v Portugal

Case Summary

Case No. 17484/15
Judgment date: 25 July 2017

The applicant is a Portuguese woman, who in 1995 underwent surgery at the Central Lisbon Hospital (CHCL) for a gynaecological disease causing her pain and discomfort. During the operation, a nerve was damaged in her perineum, which caused her severe pain and urinary incontinence, as a consequence of which she had difficulties walking, sitting and having sexual relations. The applicant won a civil case against CHLC, and was awarded €172,000 in damages.
The following year the CHCL appealed before the Administrative Supreme Court, which upheld the first-instance judgment on the merits, but reduced the amount of damages. The Supreme Court reasoned that as a 50-year-old woman, the impact of the surgery on the applicant’s sex life was less important than it would have been if she had been younger and had no children. The Attorney General, joined by the applicant, later appealed this decision, arguing that the judgment should be declared null and void, but this was dismissed by the Administrative Supreme Court.