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Compensation claims expected to follow GMC's findings

BMJ 1998; 316 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.316.7146.1691 (Published 06 June 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:1691
  1. Clare Dyer, legal correspondent
  1. BMJ

    Compensation claims totalling at least £10m ($16m) are expected to follow the General Medical Council's finding last week that two surgeons from Bristol Royal Infirmary, James Wisheart and Janardan Dhasmana, disregarded warnings that their death rates were unacceptably high and continued to operate on babies and toddlers with heart defects.

    Writs on behalf of children who died or were brain damaged and their parents are expected to follow the ruling in what was dubbed “the medical scandal of the century” by Stephen Bolsin, the anaesthetist, who exposed it. At least 20 writs have already been issued in cases where children have died.

    Laurence Vick, of the Exeter law firm Tozers, said: “By sitting on the problem for so long and for failure to call a halt to these operations before they were finally forced to act in 1995, the trust has exposed itself to the risk of numerous claims. It may find itself liable for all adverse outcomes after a certain date irrespective of the need to prove negligence by a surgeon or support team in those operations.”

    The GMC …

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