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Thursday, 22 February, 2001, 15:50 GMT
Dental death doctor escapes jail
Dental equipment
The woman went to have a tooth removed
A doctor has been given a suspended jail sentence for the manslaughter of a nervous dental patient who collapsed after she was given sedative drugs.

An Old Bailey jury heard that Dr Richard Kaul talked on his mobile phone as Isatu Bangura suffered a fatal heart attack.

The anaesthetist was jailed for six months, suspended for a year, after being found guilty of the manslaughter of Mrs Bangura in March 1999.

Mrs Bangura, of Islington, north London, had gone to Dr Kaul's dental surgery in Dalston, east London, to have a tooth extracted.

Her heart stopped after she was "negligently" given a dose of sedative drugs. She died six days later.

The Common Serjeant of London, Judge Neil Denison, told Dr Kaul: "Your conduct on that day was a terrible lapse from your normal standards of professional care.

"Your professional life is in ruins and that in itself is a severe punishment."

GMC hearing

Dr Kaul, 36, of Marylebone, central London, had denied manslaughter but was convicted by a jury. He now faces a General Medical Council hearing.

Anthony Arlidge, QC, defending, said Dr Kaul was now facing bankruptcy and his fiancee had broken off their engagement.

Dr Kaul had denied the mobile phone allegation. He also denied making patients unconscious "by the back door", to speed up procedures after General Dental Council guidelines in November 1998 banned the use of general anaesthesia, except by consultants.

William Boyce, prosecuting, said Mrs Bangura had asked to be put to sleep because she was nervous.

However, she developed breathing difficulties and collapsed in the dentist's chair after treatment by a dentist.

Receptionist Michelle Loftman told the court: "Richard was standing near the trolley facing the window. He was talking on the mobile phone.

"That's when I turned round and noticed things were wrong. Mrs Bangura had a bib on and the bib was not moving."

Annoying alarm

Miss Loftman said she had been asked by Dr Kaul to switch off the alarm on a monitor on Mrs Bangura because he was annoyed at the noise it was making.

She told the jury that Mrs Bangura, who was injected with two drugs, was given more sedation than other patients because she had taken longer to fall asleep.

Mr Boyce said earlier in the day Kaul and a dentist were seen carrying an unconscious man into the recovery room.

Another unconscious man was placed on a chair by the stairs. His friend said the man was "out" for more than an hour and would have fallen over if he had not been there to hold him.

Mr Boyce said Kaul had also failed for revive Mrs Bangura when it should have been simple to do.

Mr Boyce said: "This was easily preventable. Stopping breathing happens all the time.

"But his degree of neglect turned the almost routine into tragedy. He was grossly negligent in carrying out his duty."

From February 1999, Dr Kaul should only have been treating patients who were heavily sedated using injected drugs.

They should have been conscious but calm, said Mr Boyce.

Mr Boyce said Dr Kaul had delayed an ambulance being called for 35 minutes while he tried to revive the woman.

And he refused to go with paramedics in an ambulance even though the woman's condition was critical.

Dr Kaul was found guilty of manslaughter by an 11-1 majority verdict.

After the case, five of Mrs Bangura's six children, issued a statement saying: "We are satisfied with the sentence and know that justice has been done."

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