30 January 2017
Leeds Hospital Heart Surgeon Struck Off For Serious Shortcomings
A children’s heart surgeon at Leeds General Infirmary has been struck off for “long-standing shortcomings” in patient safety.
Nihal Weerasena was referred to the General Medical Council (GMC) in January 2014 following a review of paediatric care services at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.
A tribunal ruled he was at fault for failures involving six patients.
Children’s heart operations had previously been stopped for a fortnight at the trust following safety concerns. The Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS), sitting in Manchester, ruled that Mr Weerasena’s treatment of four of the six patients – three children and one adult – fell seriously below the standard of a reasonably competent consultant cardiothoracic surgeon.
The trust must be commended for its handling of these incidents of medical negligence.
This included performing “complex” surgery on a seven-year-old – which posed a “significant risk”. The tribunal found the surgeon “may have significantly contributed to the poor outcome in this
The trust must be commended for its handling of these incidents of medical negligence. All too often, we see injuries and health complications that occur following a hospital visit or surgery, which are a result of health care providers not learning from past mistakes. This may be due to the fault of an individual or a clerical error stemming from reporting failures.
Where patient health is a concern, it is a trust’s responsibility to investigate what has happened, to make a patient or their family aware of any errors, and to implement actions that see lessons are learned and do not put future patients’ health at risk.
The latter comes under “duty of candour”, the guidelines that clarify how every healthcare professional must be open and honest with patients when something goes wrong with their treatment or care.
Ian Cohen is practice group leader and a medical negligence lawyer at Slater and Gordon in Liverpool.
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