GMC accused of prejudicing doctors' defence

BMJ 1997; 315 doi: (Published 08 November 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;315:1177
  1. Clare Dyer
  1. legal correspondent, BMJ

    The General Medical Council (GMC) was accused last week of prejudicing the defence of three doctors accused of serious professional misconduct over heart surgery on babies and children.

    Two consultant surgeons, James Wisheart and Janardan Dhasmana, are accused of carrying out operations beyond their technical competence when they were aware of concerns about high mortality, and the former executive of the United Bristol Healthcare Trust, John Roylance, is accused of allowing the operations to go ahead (18 October, p 967). Mr Wisheart, who was also the trust's medical director and who has since retired, is also accused of misleading parents about the risks of death or brain damage.

    The charges relate to operations carried out between 1988 and 1995 at the Bristol Royal Infirmary on 53 babies and young children, of whom 29 died and four were left brain damaged. Concern centred particularly on arterial switch operations for transposition of the great arteries. The GMC hearing is to be followed by a government inquiry.

    It emerged last week that the GMC sent “chapter XV letters” to three other Bristol consultants-two cardiologists …

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