Locum surgeon 'swore' during botched operation

By Alistair Keely,Press Association
Sunday 23 October 2011 07:17

A German surgeon swore and mumbled in his native language as he carried out a botched hip operation on an elderly patient, a disciplinary hearing heard today.

Dr Werner Kolb, 51, showed "scant regard" for his patient's welfare as he "ploughed ahead" during the bungled operation, a General Medical Council hearing was told.

A colleague asked him to stop and eventually called for help from a senior colleague after Dr Kolb's procedure caused a "big rush of blood".

Ena Dickinson, 94, lost two-and-a-half litres of blood after Dr Kolb allegedly cut through a muscle and created an incision in the femoral artery, the hearing in Manchester was told.

The patient, a former nurse, was prone to falls and was admitted to the Grantham and District Hospital in August 2008 after suffering a fracture to her left femur.

She died weeks after the operation.

The German surgeon is accused of a catalogue of failings, including reverting to a language other than English, making uncontrolled use of a power saw and failing to communicate effectively with his colleagues.

The fitness to practise panel was told that a staff sister recalled Dr Kolb speaking in German and thought she heard him swear "as he struggled to carry out the procedure".

Dr Unesh Nagare, who was assisting in the operation, also recalled him mumbling and speaking in a different language. The hearing was told a colleague had to take over as Dr Kolb had approached the hip through the wrong plane and "didn't know where he was".

During a meeting with the NHS Trust Dr Kolb admitted he "kept going on and on until heavy bleeding occurred".

The doctor was not present at today's hearing and is not legally represented.

Opening the case for the GMC, Darren Preston referred to a review of the operation which concluded that: "Rather than step back and consider what the problem was, the doctor ploughed ahead rather than resolve it with appropriate action."

Mr Preston said the surgical technique used by Dr Kolb was deemed "sub-standard" and "inappropriate" by a consultant who reviewed the case.

"He ploughed on regardless despite the warning signs," Mr Preston told the panel.

Mr Preston added: "He (the consultant) was of the view he was not in control of the procedure and had put life at risk and had scant regard for the patient's wellbeing.

"The GMC's case is that the surgical performance of Dr Kolb was well below that which is expected," he added.

The hearing was told that Dr Kolb had an "impressive CV" and was considered "very good at English" and was employed by the trust as a locum while a surgeon took annual leave.

The hearing is expected to last two weeks.

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