Specialist Surgeon Suspended Over 'Avoidable Deaths'

11 December 2013

Specialist Surgeon Suspended Over 'Avoidable Deaths'

Consultant surgeon David Paul Berry, a specialist liver surgeon based at University Hospital Wales, has been banned by the General Medical Council (GMC) from doing any further liver surgery.

The decision to suspend him came about after eight patients in South Wales suffered ‘avoidable deaths’. The nature of the suspension by the GMC means Dr Berry will have restrictions placed on the work he is allowed to do. The decision came pursuant to a professional review of 31 of his patients, which found 10 went on to die, and "eight of those 10 deaths were avoidable".

Standard monitoring procedures at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board first helped raise concerns regarding Mr Berry’s surgical operations in October 2012. He was placed on restrictive practice straight away after officials investigated concerns about the care and treatment of a number of patients who had undergone liver surgery which Mr Berry had monitored and led.

The results of the findings merited a full investigation by the GMC after Dr Berry was fully suspended. It was then that a team from the Royal College of Surgeons carried out a full investigation of the matter, and which highlighted a total of eight "avoidable deaths" linked to the surgery Dr Berry undertook.

It was after the partner of one of the eight commenced legal action to get the full picture of what happened that the health board revealed the full extent of the findings.

Martyn Rogers, 66, from Newport, south Wales, died of blood poisoning and acute liver failure at University Hospital Wales in 2012.

Within three days of going into surgery for a liver related procedure, his organs began shutting down and it was discovered one of his major veins had been damaged. He passed away a week after Dr Berry excised tumours from his liver. Maria Davies, Martyn’s partner of 40 years, commenced the investigatory procedure to find out what happened

Dr Graham Shortland, medical director of the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, said: "Every death is a tragedy for the family concerned, but we do not underestimate the impact of a death in these circumstances.

"We would like at the outset to put on record our unreserved apologies to Ms Davies, and every family who has been affected."

If you have been a patient at University Hospital Wales and are concerned about the treatment you may have been experienced, we have specialists in the fields of liver surgery and surgical errors who can provide advice and support to you.

If you have experienced any form of medical mistreatment at any NHS trusts or hospitals, or want to better understand exactly what your patient rights are, Mistreatment.com are pleased to offer advice and support to you. Our specialists have wide experience of providing advice and support across a number of areas relating to potential medical mistreatment, such as misdiagnosis and delay and surgery errors, for example.