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High death rates defended by paediatric cardiologist

BMJ 1998; 316 doi: (Published 14 March 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:797
  1. Clare Dyer, legal correspondent
  1. BMJ

    The high death rate for children operated on by cardiac surgeon James Wisheart for atrioventricular septal defects was not due to the quality of the surgery, a leading paediatric cardiologist told the General Medical Council last week.

    Elliot Shinebourne, a consult-ant at the Royal Brompton Hospital in London, said some of the children who underwent such surgery at Bristol Royal Infirmary should not, with hindsight, have been operated on. Some would have had a better chance of survival if surgery had been done at an earlier age before the progression of pulmonary vascular disease, and one child had a combination of defects that had never before been described, a combination of abnormalities that would have “taxed the most experienced surgeons in the world.”

    Dr Shinebourne was giving evidence for Mr Wisheart, one of two surgeons accused of serious professional misconduct. Mr Wisheart and Janardan …

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