Investigation into mum’s death after weight loss surgery at Whittington Hospital
11:00 01 August 2013
An investigation has been launched and a surgeon suspended after a mother died following weight-loss surgery at the Whittington Hospital.
Surgeon Dugal Heath has been temporarily banned from performing gastric bypass and band operations after 39-year-old mother-of-three, Jane White, died last September.
An inquest in June this year heard she died of “multiple organ dysfunction due to complications” after weight-loss surgery.
Whittington Health, the trust that runs the hospital, and the surgeon are now facing court action from Mrs White’s husband.
Mr Heath is also the subject of a General Medical Council (GMC) probe and has six conditions against him, including a ban on performing weight-loss surgery pending the investigation.
Figures published by NHS England state that Mr Heath took part in 38 bariatric operations in 2012.
In 2011, an inquest heard how another woman, Kim Blake, a mother-of-one from Kentish Town, died from malnutrition caused by complications following bariatric surgery at the hospital.
Mr Heath carried out the initial operation in January 2010, which passed without complications, but Ms Blake could not keep any food down afterwards.
Although no obstruction was found, surgeons at the Whittington performed a second operation but it was unsuccessful and a third operation at University College Hospital in Bloomsbury also failed to find any obstruction.
But Ms Blake continued to deteriorate and died in December 2010, before an operation to reverse the procedure could be carried out.
A case review could now be opened which will look into previous operations and their outcomes by assessing patient notes and conducting interviews.
There were just three “post-operative in-hospital” deaths across the country as a result of weight-loss surgery last year, according to the National Bariatric Surgery Registry.
A spokesman for Whittington Health NHS Trust said: “Whittington Health can confirm that a consultant general and bariatric surgeon has been excluded from the trust while investigations are carried out into his practice.
“The trust takes the safety of its patients extremely seriously and took action following concerns about his practice.
“The consultant general surgeon was excluded in December 2012. The trust is cooperating with the GMC.”