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SURGERY BLUNDERS KILLED 3 PATIENTS; Medics 'didn't think they could make op mistakes'.

Byline: John Ferguson

BLUNDERING surgeons have been blamed for the deaths of three patients at NHS Lanarkshire hospitals.

Agnes Nicol, George Johnstone and Andrew Ritchie all died after keyhole operations to remove their gall bladders.

A fatal accident inquiry found that catastrophic mistakes during surgery were to blame.

And the FAI report concluded that surgeons missed chances to save the patients' lives because they failed to consider their own possible failures.

The inquiry was set up to examine the death of Agnes, 50, from Carluke, Lanarkshire.

It also heard evidence about the deaths of George, 54, from Airdrie, and Andrew, 62, from Motherwell.

They were all treated by different surgeons.

Agnes died at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary in March 2006 from multiple organ failure after developing septicaemia following surgery at Wishaw General Hospital in December 2005.

Complications arose after a staff grade surgeon wrongly cut her common bile duct and right hepatic artery, cutting off 80per cent of the blood supply to her liver.

The mistakes were not discovered until Agnes was transferred to the liver unit at Edinburgh Royal.

George died from multiple organ failure at Monklands District General Hospital in May 2006.

This was due to a biliary leak after a consultant surgeon cut or damaged the main bile duct during a procedure two days earlier.

Andrew died from internal bleeding at Wishaw General in June 2006, after a consultant surgeon botched his op the previous week.

The inquiry found that all three deaths were down to shocking errors in surgery and an appalling standard of post-operative care.

Sheriff Robert Dickson said each of the surgeons did not consider the possibility that they had made mistakes.

He added: "There was clear evidence that when the patients were not responding as was expected, this failed to result in the necessary inquiry and investigation."

STANDARDS NHS Lanarkshire last night apologised to the bereaved families.

A spokesman said: "We did fall below the high standards of care we aim to maintain in these cases."

Agnes's daughter Margo, 29, said: "Disgusting mistakes were made again and again and again and they had so many chances to save my mum's life.

"It is some comfort that the sheriff has recognised this and hopefully no other family will have to go through what we have gone through."


VICTIM Agnes Nicol
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Feb 17, 2012
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