Doctor who removed patient's ovaries without her consent found guilty of misconduct

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The Independent Online
John Studd, the Harley Street gynaecologist who removed a 35-year- old woman's ovaries without her consent, was last night found guilty of serious professional misconduct by the General Medical Council.

Mr Studd, 60, a member of the council of the Royal College of Obstetricians, was found guilty of a failure to undertake sufficient medical or supervision of Jacqueline Bartley's ovaries before he undertook the operation.

Sir Herbert Duthie, the committee chairman, issued a severe admonishment but added that there would be no further proceedings against him, leaving him free to continue working, viewed the proven charges as serious but added that there would be no further proceedings against him.

"To establish and maintain trust, doctors must recognise that patients have certain, fundamental rights," said Sir Herbert. "Those rights include the right to be fully involved in decisions about their care and the right to refuse treatment."

He added that the committee had carefully considered whether it was necessary to take action to affect his registration but had taken into account the length of time since the events took place, his admissions of his errors and the changes he had made to his practice - plus the impressive testimonials submitted on his behalf.

Sir Herbert concluded that, in the circumstances, the committee had decided: "It was not necessary for any direction to be made in regard to his registration," and had determined to conclude his case with the admonishment. Mr Studd was, however, cleared of failing to tell her that he had removed her ovaries and had inserted HRT implants.

Earlier, he had told the proceedings in London that he thought he had the "implied consent" of Mrs Bartley to take out her ovaries and insert hormone replacement therapy implants during an operation to remove her womb. He now regrets admitting negligence in a High Court case which resulted in a pounds 32,500 out-of-court payment to Mrs Bartley, of Waveney Road, Nunhead, south-east London.

Mrs Bartley only found out that her ovaries had been removed when she went to pay her bill at the private Lister hospital in 1992. She noticed an item for hormone replacement therapy and thought there must have been a mistake only to discover that Mr Studd, director of the fertility unit at the hospital, had inserted HRT pellets to take over the function of her missing ovaries. When she discovered what Mr Studd had done she sas left "feeling like a piece of meat," she told the disciplinary hearing. Mrs Bartley had consented to a hysterectomy - but not to the removal of her ovaries - for the treatment for stress incontinence.