Safety concerns

Here’s my piece on safe surgery in children, at the invitation of the Editors of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Surgery:

Safe surgery in children

Deaths foretold

In March 2010, Caitlyn Parry came to Alder Hey (AH) to have a simple kidney tumour removed. She should have had an excellent prognosis.

She died without ever regaining consciousness, after her surgeon cut the wrong arteries. This fatally deprived her liver and intestines of their vital blood supply. The surgeon then failed to recognise this in time for her life to be saved. Her mother tells of her own seven-year fight to uncover the truth here.

This death cannot be discounted as a simple accident.

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The Ahmed scandal

Mr Shiban Ahmed FRCS was my colleague and former specialist advisor on paediatric surgery to the Healthcare Commission.

He sought my support after reporting serious concerns at Alder Hey (AH). For example, he’d warned against surgery in a physiologically stable child with an abdominal wall defect. His warnings were ignored and the child died within hours of operation. The notes went missing before the Royal College of Surgeons investigated. Alder Hey gave a “heavily redacted” letter on the case to the General Medical Council who didn’t seek an unredacted version.

Mr Ahmed has been stuck at home for years on full NHS pay (imagine the waste), unable to return to a department that discredited his mental health, hid evidence of this from him, and then breached its legal duty to disclose this evidence to his legal proceedings.

Once such wrongdoing is normalised, NHS safety is lost.

The BBC have reported efforts to have a judicial inquiry into the whole affair.

Private Eye have covered the scandal many times, including here

BAPIO sought an independent investigation from Jeremy Hunt here

My speech at the BMA about the case is here

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