Surgeon warned over daughter's help

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The Independent Online
A surgeon was given a warning by hospital chiefs at a disciplinary hearing last night after he allowed his 16-year-old daughter to assist in an operation.

Michael Williams will return to work at the Mayday Hospital in Croydon, south London, on Monday, a spokesman for the NHS Hospital Trust said. He has agreed to apologise to the patient.

Mr Williams, a vascular surgeon, was suspended from his duties at the hospital at the end of July after theatre staff complained his daughter had been allowed to help in an operation.

He allowed his 16-year-old daughter to hold a skin retractor which holds the wound open during the operation.

The hearing yesterday at Mayday Hospital ruled Mr Williams had been wrong to allow his daughter to take part in the operation. The male patient knew nothing of the girl's involvement and was discharged from hospital as planned.

The hospital later told the man, who wishes to remain anonymous, what happened.

Mr Williams said: "I am very disappointed at the result of today's hearing. I have been a surgeon at Mayday University Hospital for six years and during this time the care of my patients has always mattered most to me. My greatest disappointment is that these circumstances have taken me away from my work.

"I have been overwhelmed by the extent of the support that I have received from my patients, hospital colleagues and local GPs." Mr Williams added that his daughter had been "extremely stressed" by recent events.

The patient made a formal complaint about the incident to the trust, supported by Croydon Community Health Council.

The trust has offered a formal apology to the patient and last night Mr Williams said he also intended to apologise.

The patient and his wife said: "We would like an unreserved apology in writing and be assured that the same kind of thing does not happen again to other patients."