Patient woke up during liposuction surgery, GMC told

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A patient undergoing liposuction awoke from anaesthetic on the operating table to discover white liquid being siphoned from his abdomen into glass jars by an unqualified doctor, it was claimed yesterday.

The man, a music teacher named only as "Mr P", was allegedly left in agony by the operation, and was twice taken to casualty for painkilling treatment. Six months later he returned to the same shape and size as he was before the £2,200 procedure, the General Medical Council heard.

Mr P was one of three patients to suffer at the hands of Dr Thomas Norton, the GMC's professional conduct committee was told. The 46-year-old GP was the cause of "wholesale and symptomatic failure" due to his lack of training in surgical procedures or anaesthesia, the committee was told.

In a series of operations at the Transform Clinics in Sheffield and Manchester in late 1993 and early 1994, Dr Norton showed a cavalier bedside manner, it was alleged.

Richard Tyson, counsel to the GMC, said Dr Norton, from Wakefield, West Yorkshire, failed to outline the risks of cosmetic surgery or keep records of the procedures he carried out.

Before carrying out a £5,000 liposuction operation on one woman he spent only five minutes consulting her and told her during that time that he had just been caught speeding in his Porsche.

The woman, who is in her mid-50s and named as "Mrs W", woke up in agony during the operation to remove fat from her hips and waist to find fat being reinjected into her breasts. She was told it would make them firmer. "Mrs W" was sent home within four hours but needed a second, remedial operation for which Dr Norton offered her a free "bottom lift" as compensation.

"Mrs W" told the hearing: "It was just like I had developed like a Michelin man with all the lumps and bumps."

The GMC was told that an 18-stone woman, referred to as "Mrs P", was admitted to hospital for two months when she developed an infection after surgery by Dr Norton at the Transform Group's Manchester clinic.

She approached Transform to perform the operation after receiving medical advice that she should lose weight, but was forced to wait until the day of surgery before a consultation with Dr Norton.

Mr Tyson said: "Dr Norton is not a surgeon, he's a GP. He has no past registration, experience or training in surgery or in anaesthesia."

Dr Norton, who is now registered at the Homestead Clinic in Wakefield, denies serious professional misconduct based on his treatment of all three patients. He admits several charges of failing to make adequate records of either his patients' medical histories or his role in the operations.

The hearing continues.

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