GMC extends restrictions on Bristol heart surgeon

BMJ 2001; 322 doi: (Published 16 June 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;322:1441
  1. Clare Dyer, legal correspondent
  1. BMJ

    The General Medical Council extended the restrictions on Bristol heart surgeon Janardan Dhasmana at a hearing earlier this week.

    It extended its three year ban on the surgeon carrying out any paediatric heart surgery for another 12 months and also ruled that he should not undertake any adult cardiothoracic surgery, except under supervision.

    The council went ahead with its hearing despite a plea by his counsel, Nicola Davies, QC, for an adjournment.

    The ban was imposed in July 1998 when Mr Dhasmana was found guilty of serious professional misconduct for continuing to perform arterial switch operations on babies despite having a high failure rate.

    Two other doctors, senior surgeon James Wisheart and former chief executive John Roylance, were struck off the medical register for their roles in the saga, which sparked far reaching changes in accountability and monitoring.

    The GMC decided that it was in the public interest for the hearing to go ahead before the ban on Mr Dhasmana expires on 20 July. Ms Davies had applied for the case to be adjourned until after the public inquiry into the events, headed by law professor Ian Kennedy, reports later this year.

    Ms Davies said her client had no intention of returning to paediatric work in the future but wanted to resume operating on adults: “There has never been at any time any criticism of Mr Dhasmana's adult surgery.”

    She said that the surgeon, who had lost his job at Bristol Royal Infirmary following the GMC's findings, was “demoralised and depressed.” He had helped the public inquiry until April 2000.

    After that he worked as an honorary clinician in the department of cardiothoracic surgery at St George's Hospital in London, assisting by attending teaching sessions and clinical meetings under the guidance of Professor Tom Treasure. But this had ended last February when Professor Treasure moved to another hospital.

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