In a shocking case heard recently at a consumer commission in Indian capital New Delhi, it emerged that a needle was accidentally left inside a woman's uterus after she delivered a baby through surgery. The needle caused profuse bleeding and excruciating pain.

An even more shocking detail that emerged was that the surgery was performed by a pharmacist, and not a qualified surgeon. The incident took place in September 2009 at Delhi's Shree Jeewan Hospital.

The Delhi State Consumer Commission has recently ordered the private hospital to pay punitive costs of 3m Indian rupees (£36,637, $46,632), terming the act as "negligent" and "deficient in service".

"Instead of employing a qualified doctor who draws a salary around 200,000 Indian rupees, the hospital is getting the job done by a pharmacist. How many such episiotomy wounds (surgical cut made to ease a difficult delivery) have been stitched by pharmacist Dr Raheen is anybody's guess," commission members NP Kaushik and Salma Noor reportedly said while delivering the verdict.

The consumer watchdog also slammed the hospital for manipulating hospital records and replacing the pharmacist's name with a doctor's.

The presence of the needle inside the woman's body was detected a day after the operation when the patient complained of severe pain and bleeding.

"The bed sheets and packs were changed several times due to the profuse bleeding. No doctor paid any heed to the excessive bleeding and unbearable pain," the patient had reportedly argued through her counsel during a hearing at the commission.

An x-ray reportedly showed a circular needle inside her uterus. "Had it been a straight needle, it could have travelled to other parts of the body and caused serious problems," the commission panel hearing the case said.