Norfolk and Norwich Hospital: 'Serious concerns' over three operations

Paul Tooth

A surgeon botched two operations and had concerns raised about another in the space of a week, with one patient saying his life has been “ruined”.

The gall bladder procedures took place at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) in January 2020.

The surgeon who carried them out is being investigated by the General Medical Council (GMC).

The NHS hospital has apologised and said the surgeon was still practising under supervision.

Paul Tooth was operated on by the surgeon and immediately complained he was in “excruciating” pain after the procedure to remove his gallbladder. He was operated on again the following day.

Mr Tooth had not only had his gallbladder removed, but also his bile duct and hepatic duct, and part of his liver was damaged.

The former RAF engineer from Norfolk was transferred to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge for repair surgery, but was told the damage could not be reversed.

Mr Tooth said: “I went in for a branch to be trimmed and [the surgeon] chopped down the whole tree.

“Life has stopped. It’s ruined.”

NNUH from the air

image copyrightBlueSky UAV

While at Addenbrooke’s he became aware of another patient who was injured by the same surgeon.

Mr Tooth has had to have stomach drains inserted to collect the bile leaking from the injury, with another tube to recycle the bile back into his body.

He is also facing the prospect of a liver transplant.

He said: “It will not put me back anywhere like normal – I require further treatment and intervention by the health services for the rest of my life.”

A letter from the NNUH trust, seen by the BBC, stated that its medical director had carried out a review into two further cases “of serious concern involving the same surgeon… which were subject to a Root Cause Analysis”.

“All of the surgeries took place within a five-day period in January 2020, involving the same type of surgery,” the letter said.

The names of the other patients and surgeon were not disclosed.

Paul Tooth and his wife

The hospital said the incidents were also investigated by the Royal College of Surgeons which had recommended improvements and lessons to be learnt, which it said had been fully implemented.

These included enhanced training and supervision.

‘Truly sorry’

The Care Quality Commission had also been informed, and the trust said it was assisting the GMC with its inquiries.

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has admitted liability, though the level of compensation had still to be decided.

Erika Denton, its medical director, said: “We are truly sorry for the life-changing complications that those affected have endured.

“We are working hard to look after these patients the best way we can now.”

A GMC spokesman said: “We are investigating these serious concerns and will be working closely with the trust throughout this process.

“As with all concerns raised with us, we can and do take prompt action where we find evidence of an immediate or ongoing risk to patient safety.”

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