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High Court judge overturns GMC ruling on fitness to practise

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: (Published 30 March 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b1336
  1. Clare Dyer
  1. 1BMJ

    A consultant surgeon has won a challenge in the High Court to a “flawed” decision that his fitness to practise was impaired, in a case that raises several questions about the General Medical Council’s procedures.

    In 2007 a GMC panel imposed a 10 month suspension on Timothy Cheatle, a consultant general and vascular surgeon, over his treatment of an elderly patient, Mildred Swain, who had diabetes and vascular disease.

    He performed a femoropopliteal bypass graft at Oldchurch Hospital in Essex in April 2002 to bypass a blocked artery in her thigh. The graft became infected, and the joint between the graft and the artery leaked. By the time she was readmitted and taken to the operating theatre it was too late to save her.

    The panel found that Mr Cheatle failed to obtain and record informed consent, to take sufficient notice of signs of postoperative infection, and …

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