NHS surgeon who needlessly amputated a woman’s leg doesn’t even get a warning, let alone any restrictions or penalty
As soon as I saw the headline to the article below, I thought: ANOTHER “overseas-trained” doctor. It seems I was right. There are many of them in the NHS
A surgeon who needlessly amputated a woman’s leg in a shocking hospital blunder has escaped punishment from the General Medical Council. Amit Sinha, an orthopaedic consultant at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd, Bodelwyddan, carried out an above knee amputation on Michelle Richards’ right leg in 2006 after diagnosing osteomyeltitis, a serious and potentially life-threatening bone infection.
Mrs Richards, from Towyn, Conwy, already had a below-the-knee amputation on the same leg in 1995, partially as a result of her spina bifida. But, after the operation, subsequent tests – carried out at the insistence of the mother-of-three – found no evidence of the disease and Mrs Richards was told: ‘Sorry there’s been a mistake.’
She then sued the surgeon’s employer, the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, for medical negligence. At the turn of this year the health board paid out an undisclosed sum to Mrs Richards in an out-of-court settlement and she received a formal apology from chief executive Mary Burrows for the error. However she failed to receive a personal apology from the consultant.
In January, after the case was settled, she reported him to the GMC. But last month, in a letter from its investigation officer, Tariq Massod, the GMC said it would be taking ‘no further action’ against Mr Sinha, the Daily Post reported.
The GMC case examiners accepted that there was ‘no evidence of infection’ in the stump and that Mr Sinha had failed ‘good medical practice’ in not referring for a second opinion. They also said the amputation was not ‘justified’ and that his error could ‘obviously be considered serious’.
‘Having said that, this appears to be a single, isolated event and there is a possibility that the claimant may have undergone conversion to an above knee amputation due to subsequent neuropathic ulceration,’ they added.
The case examiners went on to note that Mr Sinha had shown ‘insight and remorse’. They considered issuing a ‘warning’ but felt this would be a ‘disproportionate response’.
The finding has angered Mrs Richards. She told The Daily Post: ‘The letter says Mr Sinha has ‘shown remorse’ but not to me. He has never apologised to me personally and as far as I can gather he still stands by his diagnosis. This is not even a rap around the knuckles.’
She was also furious at the ‘insensitive assumption’ that she may well have lost her leg anyway, as she says she cared for partially-amputated leg.
Before she lost the whole of her right leg she was mobile, could walk without the aid of a stick and push her grandchildren around in a pram. It was in 2005 that she began to experience pain and a rash in her ‘stump’ and was told amputation was the solution to stop the infection spreading.
‘After the amputation I lost a lot of mobility and now need a stick to get around. I am now finding it difficult to play with my younger grandchildren the way I used to.’
A spokesman for the GMC told the MailOnline that it did not comment on individual cases.
Mr Sinha provided a written statement to the GMC through his representatives. It said: ‘We would submit that this error of judgement is a single isolated incident and an unusual departure from Mr Sinha’s practice. We note that the GMC’s expert, Mr Macdonald, acknowledges that there is a possibility that ‘patient A (Mrs Richards)’ would have had to have undergone an above knee amputation at some stage in the future.’
A health board spokeswoman added: ‘The GMC have, at the request of Mrs Richards, investigated her complaint against Mr Sinha and found that there is no case to answer therefore the matter is closed. ‘A full investigation was carried out during the litigation process and an apology has been issued to Mrs Richards by the chief executive of the health board.’
British parents want more time with children (so much for Ms Jowell’s working mum dogma!)
An overwhelming majority of parents want to spend more time at home with their young children. Asked in a survey if they agreed with the statement: ‘In an ideal world, one parent should stay home with the children’, more than 80 per cent of parents of all ages said ‘yes’.
In a bitterly ironic twist, the research was commissioned by MP Tessa Jowell for the Labour Party, which during 13 years in power repeatedly discouraged mothers from staying at home. Successive Cabinets in which Miss Jowell was a prominent minister pushed hard to persuade mothers of young children to go out to work. Her colleague Patricia Hewitt even described mothers of children under two who choose to stay at home as a ‘problem’.
The survey of 2,000 adults found ‘a yearning for traditional family values’, which many feel have disappeared, saying the ‘ideal’ family should have a mother and a father.
Many of those questioned called for a tax system ‘that rewards couples who stay together’ – a condemnation of Labour’s decision in 2000 to scrap the married couple’s tax allowance.
The report, from the consultancy Britain Thinks, reveals the devastating impact on family life of working parents.
Researchers said: ‘Mums often say they would have liked to have spent more time at home with their children in their younger years.’ It said mothers ‘valued time with their children’, adding: ‘Those who had needed to go back to work had some regrets.’
Deborah Mattinson, co-founder of Britain Thinks, said many mothers feel terrible guilt for returning to work just a few months after the birth of their baby. She said women would regularly become emotional and tearful during focus groups held as part of the research. They expressed their sadness that they wanted to enjoy a longer maternity leave, but simply had to go back to work to help pay the bills.
The report comes just days after a study by Unicef laid bare how exhausted parents are trying to buy their way out of guilt. It said many British parents are plying their children with expensive toys and gadgets in an attempt to make up for the lack of time spent together.
The Britain Thinks report also reveals the words those questioned would use to describe the ‘modern British family’. They are: ‘broken’, ‘juggling’, ‘hectic’, ‘fragmented’, ‘struggle’, ‘dysfunctional’, ‘disillusioned’, ‘diverse’, ‘under-pressure’, ‘skint’, ‘stressful’ and ‘stretched financially’. Just one person used the word ‘happy’.
Nearly one in three mothers with children as young as six months are working full-time, according to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics. Experts say it is the extreme pressure of the massive mortgages needed to buy a home which is forcing many women back to work.
Jill Kirby, a family expert and author of The Price Of Parenthood, said: ‘This survey shows how out of touch current political parties are with what families really need and what most women want. ‘They want more time with their children.’
Miss Jowell said the findings will ‘really help steer Labour’s policy review into family life’.
Ban teaching creationism at school, say British academics
The teaching of creationism should be outlawed in school science lessons, a group of leading scientists have said.
And the curriculum should be changed to ensure evolution is taught from when children start school, according to academics including Sir David Attenborough and Professor Richard Dawkins
Those behind the call for ‘evolution not creationism’ say teaching that God created the world is dangerous and must be prevented by law.
Drives by creationist groups at schools mean there is a sense of urgency, they add.
Evolution – the idea that we are shaped by advantageous genes being passed through generations over billions of years – does not feature in the national curriculum until the time of GCSEs.
The discussion of creationism and the theory of intelligent design – a view that evolution is fine-tuned by God – is encouraged but not part of the curriculum.
Prof Dawkins, a geneticist and author of the God Delusion, said last night: ‘We need to stop calling evolution a theory. It is as solidly demonstrated as any fact.’
Jack Valero, of Catholic Voices, said evolution should not be used to suggest God does not exist.
Dr Peter Saunders, of the Christian Medical Fellowship, said pupils should be taught to respect all views about how life began.