Hepatitis surgeon led 'campaign of deceit' to continue working

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A surgeon diagnosed as a "super carrier" of hepatitis continued to operate on patients in 10 hospitals for nearly three years, the General Medical Council was told yesterday.

Umesh Chandra Gaud, 47, mounted "a campaign of deceit", including submitting false blood samples, to enable him to carry on working, it was claimed.

Rosalind Foster, barrister to the GMC, told its professional conduct committee that 20 of the surgeon's patients were found to have contracted hepatitis from him.

Miss Foster was speaking at a hearing where Mr Gaud, who qualified in Bhopal, India, in 1975, is applying for restoration to the medical register. He was struck off for serious professional misconduct after a private hearing in December 1993. He later appeared before Southwark Crown Court where he pleaded guilty to causing a public nuisance and was sentenced to a year in prison.

The committee heard that Mr Gaud became ill in August 1990 when he was working as a surgeon at Killingbeck Hospital, Leeds. Tests showed he was suffering from rare forms of hepatitis, including hepatitis B and E. "He was in effect a super carrier," said Miss Foster.

He was told he would have to stop performing surgery while he received treatment, but it was later discovered that after September 1990 he had operated at six London hospitals - the Royal London, Guy's, St George's, St Bartholomew's, the London Chest Hospital and Harefield.

After being asked for samples of his blood for hepatitis B screening, he submitted samples which were not his - at least one came from a patient. When he finally submitted his own blood in August 1993 it showed he had three forms of hepatitis.

Despite further counselling, he performed surgery in four more hospitals - Lewisham, St Peter's, Chertsey, the Bethlem Royal and Maudsley and Crawley Hospital. Miss Foster told the committee: "Here we have a picture of a man who has over a substantial period of time prevaricated in order to continue as a surgeon. He is also a man prepared to mount a campaign of deception to that end."