Gynaecologist guilty of carrying out unnecessary hysterectomies

Laura Elston
Friday 22 November 2002 01:00

A gynaecologist has been found guilty of carrying out unnecessary hysterectomies without his patients' consent.

Michael Pembrey, 56, was accused of carrying out the unwanted treatments during 10 years, while a hospital doctor. He also sterilised two women, one with severe learning difficulties and another aged 25 with Down's syndrome, without proper consent or authority, the General Medical Council found. The GMC will rule today whether Dr Pembrey, from Battle in East Sussex, is guilty of serious professional misconduct, a charge he denies.

The allegations involved nine women he treated between November 1989 and September 1999, while a consultant at the Conquest Hospital in Hastings, East Sussex.

In relation to one of the women, he was found not guilty of serious professional misconduct after burning her thigh during a hysteroscopy in September 1995 – a procedure used to view the uterine cavity. He was also cleared of performing a clinically unjustified examination of a woman's cervix in November 1998.

However, the GMC in London ruled yesterday that he carried out an unnecessary hysterectomy on a 27-year-old woman – referred to as Patient A – and failed to act in her best interests.

The woman told the GMC that the doctor had destroyed her dream of having children with her new husband following the operation in 1990.

Another woman, known as Patient B, had her womb removed unnecessarily after being treated by Dr Pembrey for urinary symptoms.

The mother-of-three, who was 45 at the time, had claimed that Dr Pembrey said her uterus was just "a bloody nuisance" that was "flapping around". But the GMC found that these comments had not been proven.

In September 1999, Dr Pembrey removed the cervix, ovaries and fallopian tubes of a woman – known as Patient I – without her consent after she was referred to him suffering from heavy periods.

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