Verdict on Scarborough surgeon ‘has saved lives’

Jo Roche, left, whose vocal chords were damaged during an operation on her thyroid gland, with Michael Taylor, right, son of 82-year-old Wilfred who bled to death, and solicitor Simon Wilson, centre, at a press conference at the Village Hotel, Hull yesterday after consultant Nayef El-Barghouty was suspended. PICTURE: TERRY CARROTT
Jo Roche, left, whose vocal chords were damaged during an operation on her thyroid gland, with Michael Taylor, right, son of 82-year-old Wilfred who bled to death, and solicitor Simon Wilson, centre, at a press conference at the Village Hotel, Hull yesterday after consultant Nayef El-Barghouty was suspended. PICTURE: TERRY CARROTT
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THE patient of a Scarborough surgeon who made a catalogue of “woeful” blunders leaving her breathing through a tube in her neck and another man dead has said his suspension will save lives.

Nayef El-Barghouty has been suspended from practice for 12 months after a General Medical Council hearing was told how he rushed and bungled a routine operation on mum-of-two Jo Roche’s thyroid gland.

FILE PIC: Surgeon Naif El-Barghouti. Picture: Scarborough Evening News

FILE PIC: Surgeon Naif El-Barghouti. Picture: Scarborough Evening News

He also told “deplorable” lies at the inquest into Eastfield man Wilfrid Taylor’s death after messing up three procedures on the 82-year-old.

Mrs Roche, 42, had her vocal chords severely damaged in the procedure, which took place in January 2008 in just 90 minutes rather than the recommended two to three hours, and she had to undergo corrective surgery.

Speaking at a press conference yesterday, Mrs Roche, of Bridlington, said: “In an ideal situation he would have been erased from the medical register, but a 12-month suspension is the next best thing. That’s a win for us, we know that we have saved people from going under the knife and it will save lives.”

The healthcare assistant, who is married with two children, has been left barely able to speak after undergoing a tracheostomy to fit a tube through her neck and into her windpipe allowing her to breathe properly.

Just a year after Mrs Roche’s botched surgery, in January 2009, the vascular and general surgeon was operating on Wilfrid, who was suffering from an aneurysm in his leg.

The devoted grandfather-of-five had opted to have the surgery after a discussion with the surgeon, because he was afraid his aneurysm would burst at home and he would be found by one of his grandchildren.

Despite Wilfrid not necessarily requiring surgery, and having underlying medical problems, Mr El-Barghouty decided to go ahead and blundered, operating on the wrong area.

He immediately went ahead with another procedure to correct this but left a swab in his leg.

It was during the retired engineer’s third bout of surgery in the same day that the doctor severed the main vein from the lower body to the heart - and Wilfrid died as a result of massive blood loss.

Wilfrid’s son Michael, 53, a stock controller, speaking on what would have been his father’s 85th birthday, said: “The whole family have been devastated by my father’s death, which was completely avoidable, and so I gave evidence to the GMC for him. He was a generous man, totally devoted to his grandchildren and he died just eight months after my mother.

“That surgeon will be forced to remember what he’s done and my father won’t just become another statistic in his career. He will lose his salary for a year and he won’t be able to walk back into a job when his suspension is lifted. “The GMC said he told ‘deplorable’ lies at my father’s inquest and I am glad he hasn’t got away with that.”

The surgeon admitted lying at Wilfrid’s inquest, giving “false and utterly misleading” evidence about the size of Wilfrid’s aneurysm. Under oath, he also told the inquest the litigation of the artery was a recognisable complication of the operation, when it was in fact not an accepted risk.

The GMC ruled the majority of facts against him had been proved at a fitness to practise hearing in Manchester following the errors at Scarborough Hospital, where he had worked since February 1998.

Panel chairman Judith Worthington said the operation on Wilfrid was unlikely to have been effective and he had chosen to operate on Mrs Roche despite being “de-skilled” in the field.

He had put patients at “unwarranted risk of harm”, brought the medical profession into disrepute, breached “fundamental tenets” of the profession and acted dishonestly in a way that was “deliberate and sustained”.

Police were called in to investigate after Wilfrid’s death but no further action was taken. His inquest recorded a verdict of misadventure in 2009.

In both cases the hospital trust paid damages.