Pilot claims pounds 3m for 'botched surgery'

Click to follow
The Independent Online
A HIGHLY regarded British Airways pilot whose "life was destroyed" after an operation to reverse a circumcision is suing an eminent surgeon for pounds 3m in the High Court.

The alleged negligence by John Pryor a past president of the European Association of General Surgeons, left father-of-three James Williams [with] "genital mutilation... and a broken man physically and psychologically". He lost his flying licence and his home and his marriage broke up soon afterwards, the court was told.

Mr Williams, 42, had been a "dynamic personality who was highly successful in whatever he turned his hand to", said his counsel, Nicholas Leviseur.He was highly respected within BA and destined to reach the highest command levels.

But for Mr Williams "what should have been a simple operation" at the age of 38 in 1994 led to ruin. Mr Leviseur said his earnings had been reduced from pounds 66,000 a year to around pounds 12,500. He said the effects on the former pilot "have been catastrophic... they have been devastating. His moods are volatile, his self-confidence has gone and his nerves are shot".

The operation Mr Williams went for at the Lister Hospital in south-west London was to rectify discomfort suffered during sexual intercourse, and to reverse an earlier circumcision. The operation took place on 10 December. Following a second operation on 21 December Mr Williams was discharged on the morning of Christmas Eve. Mr Leviseur told the court that Mr Pryor had not realised that his operation "had gone tragically wrong". Mr Williams was sent home to his farm in North Devon by taxi and train, but it soon became obvious to him during the journeythat he "needed to get to the hospital as soon as possible".

The train guard - "the only hero of the case" - arranged for an ambulance to meet him at Exeter. He was taken to the North Devon Hospital in Barnstaple. A consultant surgeon there told the pilot that he was "in danger of losing his penis". Mr Williams was then moved to the specialist Derriford Hospital, in Plymouth, where doctors found his penis was "gangrenous". They made "heroic efforts to rebuild and recast his penis so that it is in something approaching a respectable state".

John Pryor and the Lister Hospital, Chelsea, deny negligence.

The case continues.