Babies' surgeon to face inquiry

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JAMES WISHEART, the surgeon at the centre of the heart babies scandal, will give evidence for the first time today to the public inquiry into events at Bristol Royal Infirmary.

Grieving parents whose children died at the hospital during the 12-year period between 1983 and 1995 expect the former clinical director to be questioned closely for two days.

Mr Wisheart, and the infirmary's former chief executive, Dr John Roylance, were struck off last year after a General Medical Council inquiry into the hospital's high death rate among babies undergoing complex heart surgery. A second surgeon, Janardan Dhasmana, was banned from operating on children for three years.

The GMC investigated 53 operations carried out by the two surgeons in which 29 patients died and four were left brain injured. Its inquiry ruled that the surgeons and Dr Roylance were guilty of serious professional misconduct.

The public inquiry has so far heard from 60 witnesses in the hearings totalling 40 days. The hearings end on Thursday for a six-week summer break.