Health: Ovaries taken out without woman's knowledge

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The Independent Online
A woman who had an operation in a private hospital during which her ovaries were removed without her consent only found out when she went to pay the bill.

Jackie Bartley noticed an item for hormone replacement therapy and thought there must have been a mistake. She discovered that her surgeon, John Studd, one of the country's leading gynaecologists, had inserted HRT pellets to take over the function of her missing ovaries.

Yesterday, Mr Studd, director of the fertility unit at the private Lister hospital in London and a member of the council of the Royal College of Obstetricians, appeared before the General Medical Council accused of serious professional misconduct.

The operation, carried out at the Lister hospital in 1992, had been for stress incontinence. Mrs Bartley had consented to a hysterectomy but not to the removal of her ovaries and the discovery of what the surgeon had done "left me feeling like a piece of meat," she told the disciplinary hearing.

Mr Studd said he had removed her ovaries after discovering that she was suffering from thickening of the lining of her womb. He denied that there was insufficient medical justification to remove her ovaries without her consent.

Mrs Bartley was awarded pounds 32,500 in an out-of-court settlement in July 1995 after she sued Mr Studd.

She told the hearing that she had been upset and distressed when she discovered what had happened and had angrily confronted Mr Studd. He had said: "Apart from being mad at me, how are you?" She said he apologised and said it was unforgivable that he had not consulted her.

The hearing continues.