Doctor did not rush surgery, inquest told

ONE OF Britain's leading gynaecologists yesterday denied rushing an operation on a woman who later died of blood poisoning because he wanted to get home early for a dinner party.

Mr Albert Singer, a consultant at the Whittington Hospital in north London, was giving evidence at an inquest on Ruth Silverman, 49, who died of septicaemia in University College Hospital, London, on 22 June after two operations at the private Portland Hospital.

Mrs Silverman, whose widower Michael is an influential member of the Conservative Medical Society, was admitted to the Portland for a hysterectomy on 22 May. After the operation, she developed abdominal problems and her condition deteriorated.

Keyhole surgery was carried out at 7pm on 12 June to find out the cause of the problem. According to Mr Singer, both Mrs Silverman and her husband were 'not keen' on traditional surgery which would have left a scar.

He denied that he had planned the operation to fit in with his National Health Service work at the Whittington Hospital. He also denied that he had told the Silvermans' daughter that he wanted to hurry the operation so he could be home for a dinner party, and that he had been working long hours to accommodate private patients.

'I run a busy NHS clinic, but she was my only private patient at that time,' he told the inquest. 'I visited her in the morning, the afternoon, and phoned during the day. On this day I took the afternoon off. I was perfectly relaxed.'

Mr Singer denied that Mrs Silverman was frightened and confused when he suggested keyhole surgery and that he had over-ruled a senior bowel surgeon, Mr Peter Hawley, who favoured traditional open surgery.

The operation, using optical fibres, found the patient's bowel was swollen and that a kink was causing a blockage. The following day, Mr Singer rejected a nurse's test result which showed Mrs Silverman's white blood cells were low. He agreed that if the result was correct, it would have indicated blood poisoning caused by leakage from the bowel.

Mr Singer told the inquest he believed the nurses had either made a mistake, or that the test had been taken at the wrong time. He said the test did not fit in with the patient's 'general clinical picture'. He believed a blood clot in the lungs was the likely cause of complications.

Blood poisoning was his second diagnosis, but he wanted to exclude a blood clot before looking at other possibilities, he said. But when the blood clot had been ruled out, he still did not diagnose blood poisoning. Kidney failure was another possibility, he said.

On 15 June, he found that Mrs Silverman's condition had deteriorated and that she was probably suffering from blood poisoning after all.

The inquest continues.

Suggested Topics
Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
voicesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping the First Minister up at night?
Life and Style
tech

Apple has been hit by complaints about the 1.1GB download

Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Life and Style
Alexander McQueen A/W 2014
fashionPolitics aside, tartan is on-trend again this season
Arts and Entertainment
Rapper Jay Z performs on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury in 2008
musicSinger sued over use of the single-syllable sample in 'Run This Town'
Sport
Joel jumps over the board...and into a giant hole
footballFrom joy to despair in a matter of seconds
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC
tv

Much-loved cartoon character returns - without Sir David Jason

Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me
tv

Actress to appear in second series of the hugely popular crime drama

Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife
film

Matt Smith is set to join cast of the Jane Austen classic - with a twist

Life and Style
i100

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

MATHS TEACHER, PERMANENT VACANCY, TONBRIDGE SCHOOL

Competitive Salary: Randstad Education Group: Randstad Education is currently ...

HR Advisor - HR Officer - Employment Law - East London - £25000

£25000 per annum + 25 days holiday: Ashdown Group: *** HR Advisor - HR Office...

ENGLISH TEACHER, FULL TIME SUPPLY ROLE, DOVER SCHOOL

Competitive Salary: Randstad Education Group: TEACHER OF ENGLISH NEEDED for lo...

Nursery assistants required in Cambridgeshire

£10000 - £15000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Qualified and unquali...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week