Anaesthetist's `fatal errors'

A 10-YEAR-OLD girl died in the dentist's chair after an anaesthetist failed to follow basic procedures, a disciplinary hearing was told yesterday.

Katie Dougal had gone to the surgery after breaking her two front teeth in a fall. But within minutes of being put under a general anaesthetic by consultant Dr Tapas Kumar Basu, she suffered heart failure.

The General Medical Council in London was told that Dr Basu, 59, had failed to use monitoring equipment to check the child's heart and blood gases during the operation.

Rosalind Foster, for the Council, told the Professional Conduct Committee hearing that it was alleged that Dr Basu had also failed to check Katie's blood pressure, weigh her or to take an adequate medical history.

Dr Basu, of Walsall, denies serious professional misconduct in failing to provide adequate medical care, failing to keep his anaesthetics knowledge up to date and failure to keep adequate records. He is also accused of failing to initiate proper resuscitation or use a defibrillator to try to start her heart.

Katie's mother, Patricia Dougal, 31, of Breacton, Derbyshire, said she brought her daughter to the Alexander T Gordon practice in Long Eaton on 18 January 1996 after her GP had said she was fit for the anaesthetic.

Katie was found to be dead on arrival at the Queen's Medical Centre in Nottingham.

Dr Basu, who has been working as a consultant at the Neath General Hospital in West Glamorgan, admitted not being familiar with guidance given to anaesthetists by the company employing him at the surgery and failing to connect monitors. He denies the other charges.

The hearing continues.

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