BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Health  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
Medical notes
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
'I think he's a disgrace'
pentecost
Lorraine Pentecost remains angry with James Wisheart
Luke Pentecost was only a few months old when he died in the intensive care unit of the Bristol Royal Infirmary.

His mother Lorraine says she realised inwardly the precise moment he died, as her car was clogged in traffic in Bristol City Centre.

She told her father, who was cursing the hold-ups, not to rush. "He's gone," she said.

At that time Lorraine, from Bath, believed that everything that could have been done to help Luke had been done.


He came over so sure of himself - so reassuring that nothing could go wrong

Lorraine Pentecost on surgeon James Wisheart
When, late at night, she saw Mr Wisheart after a marathon operation to correct his heart defect, she was almost in awe of him.

"He came over so sure of himself - so reassuring that nothing could go wrong.

"I thought - clever man. What a genius!"

Now she holds the opposite opinion, accusing Mr Wisheart of withholding vital information about his mortality rates in previous, similar operations.

If she had known then what she learned later, said Lorraine, she says would have "hijacked an ambulance" to get him to another hospital.

Wisheart at work: his conduct has been criticised
"I wouldn't have let him near him. I would have gone to the other ends of the Earth - what parent wouldn't?"

Luke, had become ill shortly after birth - he was pale and frequently sick, although he lacked the blueness so often associated with babies whose hearts are working incorrectly.

He was eventually diagnosed with Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Drainage - a quite rare heart defect.

"Wisheart did say that he had never ever seen a case of it before in his life, because it was so rare.

"He said he was unlikely that he would ever see a case like it again."

Deterioration

The operation took place in the theatres at the Bristol Royal Infirmary and took eight-and-a-half hours.

All appeared initially to have gone well, and Luke was even allowed home, but, once there, his condition deteriorated fast, and he was taken back into hospital.


I still didn't want to believe he was going to die

Lorraine Pentecost
Then came the phone call that Lorraine was dreading, telling her that he was close to death.

She told the BBC: "They said: 'He's going, and he's going fast - you'd better get over here.'

"I still didn't want to believe he was going to die - that was just me being a mum, I think."

Luke died before the family could race from Bath through the congested city centre of Bristol to the hospital.

When she arrived at the unstaffed ward, the cot was empty and the mattress turned up against the side.

Slow realisation

It would not be for several years that the emerging publicity around children's heart surgery at Bristol started Lorraine worrying about what had happened to Luke.

She contacted the Bristol Heart Babies Action Group, and once the inquiry began heard that Luke was not the first baby of his type to be operated on by James Wisheart.

She said: "He just lied. If I'd known he'd done those operations before and they were nearly all dead, I'd have gone elsewhere.

"If he was that bad, he shouldn't have been doing it.


If I'd known he'd done those operations before and they were nearly all dead, I'd have gone elsewhere

Lorraine Pentecost
"I think he's a disgrace, a disgrace to the profession. Surgeons like him shouldn't be allowed."

She wants to see regulation toughened up in the wake of the inquiry - with perhaps an independent group of medical experts conducting the checks.

"I don't see that it can be that hard to do."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Lorraine Pentecost
"Surgeons like them shouldn't be allowed"
Full coverage of the Bristol heart babies inquiry report

Government response

Key stories

Key figures

Parents' stories

Background briefing

Analysis

Bristol year by year
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Health stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Health stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes