Surgeons face misconduct charges over death of pregnant woman and her unborn baby after bungling trainee removed an ovary instead of her appendix
Maria De Jesus was admitted for surgery at Queen’s Hospital in Romford
Because she was heavily pregnant, surgeons had to 'feel' for the appendix
She died 19 days after first botched operation from multiple organ failure
Two doctors are facing a tribunal and could be struck off over incident
By Sam Webb
Published: 19:14, 14 April 2014 | Updated: 19:40, 14 April 2014
A pregnant woman with appendicitis died after a bungling trainee surgeon mistakenly removed one of her healthy ovaries, a tribunal heard today.
Maria De Jesus, 32, underwent the botched operation at Queen's Hospital, Romford, Essex, after she was admitted with abdominal pains in October 2011.
She died 19 days later after suffering a miscarriage. Inexperienced medic Dr Yahya Al-Abed admitted he made a number of errors during the procedure, including removing her right ovary instead of her appendix.
Maria De Jesus, 32, pregnant with the baby she miscarried days before she died of multiple organ failure. She was suffering from appendicitis but unsupervised trainee surgeons removed one of her ovaries by mistake
Senior surgical consultant, Dr Babatunde Coker, is accused of failing in his role by not attending theatre to carry out the surgery himself or supervising the registrar. Mrs De Jesus, who was 21-weeks pregnant, was discharged ten days after the October 23 operation, but returned to the Romford hospital on November 7, still in serious pain.
The mother-of-three gave birth to a still-born boy and died on the operating table on November 10 following a second operation to remove her appendix, the tribunal heard.
Both doctors are facing fitness to practise proceedings at the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service in Manchester, where they could face being struck off.
The General Medical Council, represented by Peter Horgan, say the doctors' treatment of Mrs De Jesus, who is referred to as Patient A at the hearing, amounted to misconduct.
Dr Yahya Al-Abed, a fifth-year trainee, had only been at the hospital for three weeks
Opening the case today Mr Horgan told the panel Mrs De Jesus was admitted to hospital with severe abdominal pain on October 21, 2011, and was diagnosed with appendicitis two days later.
Trainee surgeon Christopher Liao, who had been working at the hospital for less than three weeks, decided she needed her appendix removed and Mr Coker agreed.
The consultant was told Mr Al-Abed, a fifth-year trainee, who had also only been at the hospital for three weeks, was performing emergency operations and she was added to his list.
There were a number of other staff present in the theatre on Sunday October 23, including a young doctor 'keen to get some experience', Osman Chaudhary.
Mr Chaudhary was allowed to make the first incision, but when complications arose Mr Al-Abed took over. 'Patient A had begun to bleed quite heavily. Something was not right,' Mr Horgan said.
'In the midst of this, Mr Al-Abed removed what he clearly believed to be the appendix. He thought he found it, removed it and gave to a nurse what later turned out to be Patient A's ovary.'
A colleague later reported that the medic 'appeared reluctant to call for help' and Mr Coker was never called. He had been in the coffee room while the operation took place and received no information it was underway.
'He had lunch, then went home and didn't become aware until Monday,' said Mr Horgan. 'Thereafter Patient A remained in hospital until she was discharged on October 31. She returned to hospital and was readmitted on November 7 suffering abdominal pains.
'On November 9 it was discovered by another doctor that in fact the histology report showed an ovary had been removed and not the appendix.
'Tragically on November 11 Patient A gave birth to a still-born male baby.' Mrs De Jesus was again consented to go under the knife and this time her appendix was removed by Mr Liao.
'But sadly later that afternoon Patient A died whilst on the operating table,' Mr Horgan said.' The post-mortem concluded she had died of multiple organ failure brought on by septicemia, the panel heard.
Mrs De Jesus' condition failed to improve after the mistake was noticed and she died on the operating table at Queens Hospital, Romford
Mrs De Jesus' condition failed to improve after the mistake was noticed and she died on the operating table at Queens Hospital, Romford
'The GMC's case against Mr Coker centres on his responsibilities and actions on October 23,' Mr Horgan added.
'This was a potentially complicated operation as it was to be performed on a pregnant woman.'
Dr Coker, represented by Neil Sheldon, admits to failing to appropriately undertake his role in not attending or supervising the operation, but denies several other similar charges on the basis that that his admission 'renders them redundant'.
'The GMC's case against Mr Al-Abed centres on his responsibility and actions before, during and immediately after the operation on October 23,' said Mr Horgan. 'In short it is alleged that Mr Al-Abed performed the surgery as he did and acted outside the limits of his competence.'
Dr Al-Abed, represented by David Morris has admitted to the majority of the charges, leaving two outstanding factual matters. If the panel, chaired by Carrie Ryan-Palmer, find any of the facts admitted or found proved amount to misconduct the medics could face sanctions ranging from conditions to erasure from the medical register.
At an inquest in Walthamstow, east London, coroner Chinyere Inyama said a lost window of opportunity could have saved Mrs De Jesus. Barking, Havering and Redbridge Hospitals Trust admitted liability for her death apologised to her family. The hearing continues.
The pathology team at Queen's Hospital include clinical director Geraldine Soosay (second left) and BHRUT chief executive Matthew Hopkins (back row centre) The pathology team at Queen's Hospital include clinical director Geraldine Soosay (second left) and BHRUT chief executive Matthew Hopkins (back row centre)
Robin Cottle , Reporter Monday, April 14, 2014
Staff at Queen’s Hospital have been praised for the care they give dead patients.
Following an inspection of the mortuary at the Rom Valley Way, Romford site it was found that Queen’s complied with all the national standards.
The inspection was carried out by the Human Tissue Authority (HTA), and their report said: “The facilities not only demonstrated the the pride the mortuary staff have in their work, but also showed their commitment to the care and dignity of the deceased.”
Around 700 post-mortem examinations are carried out every year at the hospital.
Dr Geraldine Soosay, clinical director for pathology at Queen’s, said: “The HTA inspection report was very pleasing, particularly as it highlighted so many areas of good practice within our service.
“I would like to congratulate the team for this fantastic achievement and wish to thank them for their continued hard work and dedication.”
Skilled builder and joiner left gravely disabled following wrong diagnosis by Romford hospital
Queen's Hospital Queen's Hospital
Friday, May 9, 2014
11:14 AM (Romford Recorder)
A highly-skilled man who suffered a devastating stroke following an incorrect hospital diagnosis is set to receive a multi-million pound NHS payout.
Paul Wiggins, of Great Holland, near Clacton-on-Sea, was left gravely disabled after suffering a brain haemorrhage in April 2009, while being treated at the Queen’s Hospital, Romford.
The 53-year-old - formerly a skilled joiner and builder - now needs round-the-clock care and is totally dependent on others.
Through his wife, Maxine - who was today praised by a High Court judge for her “devotion” to him - Mr Wiggins sued the Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the hospital.
The trust admitted liability and agreed to settle the case by paying a lump sum of £1.66m, which will be largely used to provide suitable accommodation for Mr Wiggins.
He will also receive annual, index-linked and tax-free payments of £125,000, rising to £127,000 from 2018.
The settlement was today approved at London’s High Court by Mr Justice Holroyde, who said he was “satisfied” the deal reached was in Mr Wiggins’ best interests.
The judge told the court that, prior to his stroke, Mr Wiggins was an “immensely practical man”, whose skilled work often earned him praise.
In April 2009, he was admitted to hospital after suffering two brain haemorrhages as a result of an aneurysm.
The judge said that, had his condition been correctly diagnosed at that stage, he would have made a full recovery.
However, it was not and he suffered a further haemorrhage - which caused “severe and permanent” brain damage.
Neil Block QC representing the trust, issued a public apology on its behalf and paid tribute to the devoted care Mr Wiggins’ wife, her mother and other family members have provided.
Queen’s Hospital surgeon who removed ovary instead of appendix ‘can keep job’
Thursday, May 15, 2014
10:48 AM (Romford Recorder)
A bungling junior surgeon at Queen’s Hospital, Romford, who accidentally removed an ovary from a Dagenham woman who later died, can keep his job after health watchdogs ruled he was not a “danger to the public”.
Dr Yahya Al-Abed at the General Medical Council hearingDr Yahya Al-Abed at the General Medical Council hearing
Dr Yahya Al-Abed was “out of his depth” when he performed the complicated operation on 32-year-old mother-of-three Maria De Jesus, on 23 October 2011.
Pregnant Mrs De Jesus, of Wroxall Road, died 19 days later after suffering a miscarriage and undergoing a second procedure to remove her appendix.
Al-Abed, who now works at Colchester Hospital, admitted he made a number of errors during the procedure, including removing her right ovary instead of her appendix.
Senior consultant surgeon Babatunde Julian Coker should have performed or supervised the procedure but instead went home for an afternoon nap.
Both doctors were found guilty of “serious misconduct” at the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service in Manchester.
Al-Abed was made subject to an 18 month order of conditional registration and Coker was placed under conditions for a year.
They will be kept closely monitored by the General Medical Council and will have to attend a review hearing before they return to unrestricted work.
In front of Mrs De Jesus’s widower and three children, MPTS panel chairman Carrie Ryan-Palmer said: “The panel wishes to offer its sincere condolences to the family and to reiterate that we acted within our jurisdiction and remit.”
It had previously stated it restricted its deliberations to the doctors’ actions and omissions on 23 October 2011 and not the subsequent “tragic events”.
Mrs De Jesus was admitted to hospital with severe abdominal pain on 21 October 2011.
During the procedure Mrs De Jesus began to bleed heavily and “in the midst” of the bleeding the medic removed what he thought to be her appendix.
Family’s fury as surgeon at east London hospital is let off over death of mother-to-be
Tragic loss: Adelino De Jesus with children, from left, Pedro, Catarina and Andre (Picture: Bradley Page)
Published: 16 May 2014
Updated: 13:44, 16 May 2014
The family of a pregnant woman who died after a junior surgeon removed an ovary instead of her appendix today said she had been “treated like a dog”.
Dr Yahya Al-Abed was “out of his depth” when he performed the complicated operation on teaching assistant Maria De Jesus, 32, a Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service hearing heard.
But yesterday its panel decided not to strike off or even suspend the doctor, giving Al-Abed and another surgeon found guilty of “serious misconduct” the green light to carry on practising.
They will be subject to restrictions for 18 and 12 months respectively.
Tragic death: mother-of-three Maria De Jesus Mother-of-three Mrs De Jesus was 21 weeks pregnant and suffered a miscarriage after the blunder at Queen’s Hospital, Romford, in October 2011. She died 19 days after the surgery.
Her husband Adelino, 54, from Becontree, today said: “They should have been struck off or suspended.
“We have lost someone who loved us and was always there for us, she has been taken away by an avoidable mistake and we have to live with that for the rest of our lives, whereas those doctors are free to practise again.
“It wasn’t just those doctors, from the first day through to the last day she was badly looked after... It’s like she was a dog.”
Son Andre, 17, added: “Our main priority above everything else was to see them held responsible and to get justice, but that hasn’t happened.”
Her daughter Catarina, 11, said: “There is nothing more we can do now except try and make people aware.”
“Serious misconduct”: Yahya Al-Abed (Picture: Central News) The family is suing Barking, Havering and Redbridge Hospitals Trust, which admitted liability over the blunder.
Chief Executive Matthew Hopkins said he “fully accepts” the hearing was “rightly critical of the care and treatment” delivered to Mrs De Jesus.
But the General Medical Council hit out at the decision not to suspend the doctors.
Chief executive Niall Dickson today said: “We believe that, although this was a single clinical incident, the seriousness of it... warranted the suspension of both doctors’ licence to practise.”
Al-Abed was told his errors were “avoidable” had he followed procedures or waited for consultant support.
Senior consultant surgeon Babatunde Julian Coker should have performed the procedure himself or at least supervised, but instead went home for a nap. He was found to have failed in his duty of care for effectively “delegating” responsibility to a trainee.
But the MPTS panel’s chair, Carrie Ryan-Palmer, yesterday told Al-Abed, who now works at Colchester Hospital in Essex: “The panel bore in mind that it is not necessary to remove from practice an otherwise competent and useful doctor who presents no danger to the public in order to satisfy public demand for blame and punishment.”
It is not alleged any of the doctors’ failings led to Mrs de Jesus’s death.
Queen’s Hospital maternity department closes for four hours in April.
Harry Kemble, Reporter Thursday, June 5, 2014
3:42 PM (Romford Recorder)
The maternity ward was shut for four hours at Queen’s Hospital after the department ran out of beds, it has emerged.
The Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Trust (BHRUT) board published the information about the Romford hospital at a monthly board meeting on Wednesday (5).
Andy Walker, a member of the campaign group Save King George Hospital, which the BHRUT also runs, claims the decision, made in April, was due to a shortage of beds.
Mr Walker, who attended the public meeting, said: “We cannot have pregnant women turning up at maternity units and being told the department is shut.”
Queen’s Hospital in Rom Valley Way, has been forced to take on extra patients after King George in Barley Lane closed last year.
It is not yet known how many people were turned away from the Queen’s maternity unity during the four-hour closure.
The BHRUT has been contacted for a comment.
They could have diverted the patients to Barking or Harold Wood maternity units instead, oh no, silly me they have already closed those. Let's hope the birth rate doesn't increase in the next few years.
Very late to add to this thread but i will say that this hospital was designed to be turned into a shopping center when the contract runs out. That was the only way they could build new houses on the old church site by moving location of the hospital.
Lots of hidden background happenings..
That info was given to me before old church closed down. I'm confident in be living the source.
Rings ‘stolen’ from woman, 94, on deathbed at Queen’s Hospital
by Sam Blewett, Reporter Friday, June 6, 2014
7:00 AM (Romford Recorder)
A grieving family are demanding answers from hospital chiefs after an elderly woman’s treasured wedding and engagement rings went missing while she was dying.
The rings worn by Bertha Guymer for 74 years may have been stolen in Queen’s Hospital, her distraught family claim, but the hospital is investigating it as a “loss”.
The 94-year-old hadn’t removed the gold and diamond-encrusted bands since marrying RAF officer Robert in 1940 while he was on leave during the Second World War.
Daughter Pat Nicholls, 71, of Hedingham Road, Hornchurch, says, if stolen, the jewellery would have been taken with “a lot of force” from her mother’s finger, severely swollen with arthritis, sometime between her admission to hospital on May 8 and her death from “old age” two days later.
An “extensive” but failed investigation into the missing rings was carried out by Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust, which runs the hospital in Rom Valley Way, Romford.
Sgt Stuart Mitchell, of Havering Police, said an investigation into a “report of theft” had been concluded and anyone with information should contact him on 101.
Mrs Nicholls said: “It’s bad enough my mother’s dead but [this] makes it 10 times worse. If she knew she had died without the rings on her fingers, she would be absolutely devastated about it.”
Mrs Nicholls’ son Robert, 50, of Stanford-le-Hope, Essex, said the rings could not have fallen off as his “wonderful” grandmother’s fingers due to her arthritis.
“Mum held her hand in the ambulance to reassure her so she knew she had the rings on her hand then,” he said. “And granddad passed away 10 years ago, she would never take them off. It was the only thing she had left of him and she doted on him.”
Mrs Nicholls added: “[If taken] they would have had to have used a lot of force to get them off her fingers, which is a horrible thing to do.
“It [would] have been when she was either dead or dying.”
Judith Douglas, deputy nursing chief for the trust, said: “We’re sorry to hear of Mrs Guymer’s family’s complaint and I fully appreciate just how distressing the loss of this jewellery must be for them. We have carried out an extensive investigation but to no avail and I can only apologise unreservedly to the family for that.
“I will happily meet with the family to discuss their concerns further.”
by Emma Lake, Reporter
Saturday, June 21, 2014 (Romford Recorder)
Patient notes have been going “missing” at the troubled Queen’s Hospital – resulting in delays and cancelled appointments.
The Recorder has spoken to a woman patient in her 40s who says her notes have been mislaid twice – once resulting in a three hour delay to chemotherapy treatment.
An improvement plan published by Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust revealed that between 15 and 20 per cent of patients’ notes were going missing.
The revelation comes as the trust, which has been placed in special measures by the Care Quality Commission, pledged to improve services.
A woman told the Recorder she had twice arrived at the hospital for scheduled appointments to discover her notes had been misplaced.
She expressed concerns that missing notes could delay patients’ diagnosis and treatment but said her experience of the hospital had been generally positive.
Neil Hardy, associate director outpatient and medical secretariat services, said notes were not permanently lost, but in another area of the hospital.
He said: “Every effort is made to insure that the clinician has access to relevant and appropriate information to enable patients to be properly assessed.”
The 44-page improvement plan has identified a variety of issues at Queen’s and King George’s hospitals and outlined the action needed to drive the trust out of special measures.
A bleak picture was painted of outpatient care revealing booking difficulties and cancelled appointments.
Measures to improve the service will include rebuilding customer appointment slots.
The chair of Havering Clinical Commissioning Group, Atul Aggarwal, said: “As a GP, my priority is the safety of my patients. I very much welcome the Trust’s improvement plan and look forward to seeing it now implemented effectively and at pace so patients experience the real improvements to hospital services that we all want for our local population.”
Jane Ellison tells private meeting that coalition reforms 'pretty much gave away control of NHS'
Toby Helm, political editor
The Observer, Saturday 21 June 2014 21.00 BST
A Tory health minister was at the centre of controversy after she was secretly recorded saying that the government could no longer exert much day-to-day control over the increasingly stretched NHS.
The public health minister, Jane Ellison, told a private meeting of the Tory Reform Group that providing political direction to the NHS was like being on a high wire without a safety net – which she described as "exciting".
Tell us something we didn't already know, minister.
Doctors do not want to work to work for Havering’s troubled hospital because of its negative reputation, claims a report.
An improvement plan drawn up by Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust has reported that junior and senior medical roles have been particularly difficult to fill because of its poor track record.
The trust has been placed into special measures by the Care Quality Commission.
During its inspection the health watchdog reported that long-standing difficulties in recruiting permanent staff were having an impact on the effectiveness and safety of services at both Queen’s Hospital and King George’s Hospital.
The trust faces further recruitment challenges because nearby inner London hospitals pay higher wages.
The improvement plan, published this week, states that an overreliance on agency and locum staff is particularly prevalent in the Accident and Emergency department and has pledged to change this.
It intends to make the department a more attractive place to work to perspective staff.
The health body will also create rotations with other trusts with the aim of making consultant roles more appealing.
Other measures proposed include improving training and the retention of existing staff.
An extreme challenge indeed as the good doctors go to prevent damage to their careers and the mediocre ones stay to the bitter end?