A COVENTRY brain surgeon’s operations in which two patients died have been criticised by an independent panel.
Hussien El-Maghraby, a consultant neurosurgeon at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW), was subject to a Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) inspection last year.
He was subsequently removed in October from performing certain surgical procedures ‘pending further training and mentorship’.
The 51-year-old’s representatives said the General Medical Council (GMC) had examined five of his operations and had decided no further action was needed in 2014.
He also raised concerns about ‘bullying and harassment’ within the hospital setting.
One of Mr El-Maghraby’s patients Stephen Bridgman, from Redditch, Worcestershire, died in October 2016 after Mr El-Maghraby operated on his benign brain tumour in 2016 and left him in a vegetative state.
Another patient, Doreen Dunn, died in 2014 after Mr El-Maghraby allegedly removed a healthy part of her brain instead of a benign brain tumour.
A panel of experts on the BBC’s Inside Out programme – broadcast yesterday night – saw footage of Mr Bridgman’s procedure and condemned it as “rough surgery”.
Mr El – Maghraby’s response:
Mr El-Maghraby’s representatives, PR firm Alder, said: “With the case of Stephen Bridgman – an independent expert consultant surgeon Paul Byrne (another expert brought in by the Trust in 2017) concluded – that the tumour removal was ‘standard’ and performed in a reasonable manner.
The Alder spokesman added: “Mr Byrne also concluded that the post-operative haemorrhage that occurred is ‘a recognised complication of such surgery and could not have been avoided’.
“In July 2014 I raised a formal grievance with the Trust regarding bullying.
“In the same month an anonymous call was made to the GMC’s confidential helpline, asking the GMC to investigate certain cases of mine.
“The caller raised exactly the same cases as… bought to the BBC’s attention.
“I invite you to draw your own conclusions.
“According to the latest available national statistics, my own standardised mortality rate for 2016 for elective procedures was well within the expected range.
“Nonetheless the passing of Mr Bridgman is of great sadness to all of us involved and I pass on my condolences to his family.
“I am very happy to comply with all points raised in the RCS review.
“The review identified no shortcomings with my performance of routine neuro-oncological cases.
“It found my clinical outcomes to be comparable with those of my colleagues.
“The review also acknowledges the existence of allegations of bullying and harassment.”
Professor Andrew Hardy, chief executive officer at UHCW NHS Trust, said: “Our priority as an organisation is to provide safe, high quality healthcare for our patients.
“We have a number of ways in which the performance of our clinical staff is continuously measured and monitored such as case reviews, incidents and complaints.
“All serious incidents have a full root cause analysis with feedback to patients.
“Consistent with our priorities relating to safety and quality, we acted swiftly as soon as concerns were raised about Mr El-Maghraby’s clinical practice.
“To ensure objectivity as well as the required level of technical expertise, we commissioned two independent clinical reviews of the work of Mr El-Maghraby in 2014 and 2017.
“Each of these reviews was undertaken by leading experts in the field of neurosurgery.
“In 2014, two clinical cases were reviewed in depth by a national neurosurgical expert and no surgical concerns were raised.
“A more recent review in 2017 has taken place by the RCS and their report was received by UHCW during January 2018 and this is going through our internal quality processes before we publish a summary of the findings.
“An interim letter received following the RCS visit recommended that Mr El Maghraby is safe to continue with the majority of his surgical work although it recommended that he should not carry out two very specialist types of surgery pending further training and mentorship.
“These are awake craniotomy for intrinsic primary brain tumours and certain complex spinal surgical procedures.
“We reviewed his waiting list and ensured that any patients for these types of surgery were reallocated to other surgeons.
“The Trust has no concerns about the safety of the neurosurgery department as a whole and is committed to continuous improvement.
“We are aware of the issues raised by the BBC and believe we have dealt with these appropriately to maintain patient safety.
On accusations of bullying, the Trust said: “We took the concerns of Mr El-Maghraby very seriously and a number of meetings took place including with our clinical director for Neurosurgery to listen to his concerns.
“An investigation was initiated into the allegations made by Mr El-Maghraby against Mr (name withheld by us for legal reasons) but he resigned from our organisation in March 2015.”