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Widow's fury follows hepatitis B op fatality.

A devastated widow whose husband died after contracting hepatitis B following an operation yesterdayt demanded an apology from the surgeon suspected of passing on the virus.

Robina Cant, aged 77, from Dunfermline, Fife, fought back tears as she spoke of the death of her husband Alex in February.

Mr Cant, aged 79, contracted hepatitis B after going into the Queen Margaret Hospital in Dunfermline for a routine gall bladder operation in October last year.

He became ill in January and was taken into hospital where he died on February 16.

DNA tests have linked hospital surgeon Riaz Mohammed and Mr Cant as well as another male patient who is currently recovering from the disease in hospital.

Speaking from her home, Mrs Cant said: 'He should have got in touch with me and apologised in person.

'I thought he would have said he was sorry it happened, but it doesn't really make a difference. It has happened and I just have to get on with my life.'

Mr Mohammed is believed to have passed on the disease to the two patients.

He had been immunised against hepatitis B and checks following that vaccination appeared to show it had worked.

Dr Charles Saunders, acting director of public health for Fife Health Board, said: 'It is not clear how - even though the trust and the hospital worker followed Scottish Executive guidance on health care workers and hepatitis B - the hospital worker was infectious with hepatitis B.

'We regret very much that, despite the best efforts of everyone involved, a patient has lost his life.'

Mrs Cant, who was married to her husband for 54 years, said she had been shocked when her husband died, and had no idea how he could have contracted hepatitis B.

However the mystery was solved yesterday when she was visited by officials from Fife Health Board and told it had probably been passed on by a healthcare worker who they did not name.

'At least now I know what happened because before it was just hanging in the balance,' said Mrs Cant.

'It was a mystery, we just didn't know how he had got it.'

Mrs Cant, who has two children and three grandchildren, paid tribute to her husband who worked for St Andrews Ambulance for 35 years.

The board has written to around 350 people who were treated by Mr Mohammed between January 1, 2000, and June 30, this year.
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Aug 24, 2001
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