Surgeon injured eight women in `keyhole' operations

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The Independent Online
A surgeon left eight women patients with serious internal damage after "keyhole" operations over a 15-month period, it was claimed yesterday.

The General Medical Council was told Nicholas Sibble, 43, a former consultant at the University College Hospital, London, "disregarded his professional responsibilities to each of the women and demonstrated a lack of professionalism towards them".

Rosalind Foster, for the GMC, told its professional conduct committee that Mr Sibble's laparoscopy operations on the patients at UCH and the nearby Portland Hospital left four with cut or damaged uteruses and two with bowel perforations.

Another had a perforated uterus during an abortion while another suffered a perforated bladder. In one of the eight cases, a woman suffered uterus injuries and a 2cm hole in her bladder.

Ms Foster said there were certain "recurring criticisms" of the doctor's work between September 1991 and December 1992. He was reluctant to seek advice from specialists, carried out operations with insufficient training and failed to giver proper pre- and post-operative care.

Mr Sibble, registered as of the London Medical Centre, Harley Street, adopted the role of "an armchair surgeon", delegating duties to junior doctors and overriding the views of staff at patients' bedsides, said Ms Foster.

In one case he failed to conduct a personal pre-operative assessment of a patient before recommending a laparoscopy.This patient's ureter was damaged and her bowel was perforated.

Mr Sibble faces nine charges of serious professional misconduct. He admits many of the charges, including using a staple gun, which damaged the ureter of a patient during a hysterectomy, and causing damage to seven other patients but denies serious misconduct.

The hearing continues today.