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Bristol surgeon regrets not consulting with colleagues over poor results

BMJ 1999; 319 doi: (Published 18 December 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;319:1592
  1. Clare Dyer, legal correspondent
  1. BMJ

    James Wisheart, the senior surgeon struck off the medical register for his role in the deaths of children undergoing heart surgery at Bristol, told the public inquiry into Bristol paediatric cardiac surgery services this week that he had stopped operating on children because of stress and anxiety from seeing so many of his patients die.

    Although he believed there were “true and proper” factors accounting for the deaths, the “anxiety and emotional investment or drain weighed very heavily.”The one thing he could clearly say he regretted was not consulting colleagues earlier over his disappointing results.

    But he was not sure this would have led him to stop sooner.

    Mr Wisheart, former medical director of United Bristol Healthcare NHS Trust, said that he stopped doing operations to correct atrioventricular septal defects in September 1994. The …

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