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Thursday, 8 June, 2000, 11:34 GMT 12:34 UK
The Rodney Ledward interview
Gynaecologist Rodney Ledward was struck off after being found guilty by the General Medical Council of bungling 13 operations. It is alleged that he also damaged hundreds more women. However, he told the BBC Today that he has no regrets.
Rodney Ledward: "They have actually gone looking for a few cases and I would ask for comparison of my practice to be that of other colleagues and we may have a mirror image. Who's to know.
"But it will not be as black as its been presented and nobody has made any acknowledgement of the input - non-clinical input - I have given to the service, which has been, putting it bluntly, lost."
Interviewer: "Now, you have been described by some of the papers as a butcher and as a rogue gynaecologist, what do you feel when you read comments like that about yourself?"
Rodney Ledward: "Well I just feel sorry for the press because I've read a thousand and one other things, I've got a yacht and a stud farm and a few other addendums to my life so I just....
Interviewer: "Is that true?"
Rodney Ledward: "No I wish it was and if it is you find it for me."
Interviewier: "I spoke last week to a woman called Valerie Cant do you remember her? She said that you botched an operation so badly that she nearly died twice in 15 months.
Rodney Ledward: "Well, I think that it a lot of journalise, quite honestly. I can't remember that particular name. It is quite vague that name."
Interviewer: "She says that you nearly killed her."
Rodney Ledward: "With great respect one of the teachings I ever had was that the consultant walks round and sees 20, 30, 300 patients a week and he can't remember all those patients but the patient in bed with nothing else to do will remember you and the tie you are wearing so they do remember you."
Interviewer: "But the GMC says that you botched at least 13 operations? It can't be wrong surely?"
Rodney Ledward: "I have taken note of the rulings and my answer to that will be all in my publication."
Interviewer: "The report also says that you would see patients dressed up in jodhpurs and riding boots and with a riding whip?"
Rodney Ledward: "Yes, and you will also read about one of the patients who actually I saw having gone riding - its not a whip it is a crop and if you go riding you have a riding crop - when I was off duty on a Sunday.
"I saw this particular patient who was delighted that, one, I was taking time off, surprised that I was coming into see her on a Sunday and absolutely felt a 1000% better because I was in my riding gear. And the journalise of today just says here is some kinky gynaecologist."
Interviewer: "Did you for example ever attend clinics of your patients drunk as has been suggested in the report?"
Rodney Ledward: "How much alcohol do you have to have to smell of alcohol? The answer to that is no."
Interviewer: "So you don't accept that you are a dangerous doctor, that you are incompetent, that in some words that you are a butcher?"
Rodney Ledward: "In one sentence the profession has got rid of a first class consultant. I put that without any hesitation, feet on the ground, looking in the mirror and no conceit whatsoever. And like every other consultant he will make his mistakes.
"The answer is to say, 'listen he just seemed to be having a bad run is there anything that we can learn?'.
"The exercise from all this is to have monthly audit of every practitioner and if something sticks out like a sore thumb you correct it. You don't go looking for cases 15 years after the event."
Interviewer: "But you must have stuck out like a sore thumb, didn't you sir?
Rodney Ledward: "I stuck out like a sore thumb because I was flamboyant and to a lot of people's eyes flash, but I was providing an enormous service and I had that great idiosyncrasy of life - I was able to smile and communicate with patients and some people hate you for doing so."
Interviewer: "So you would consider yourself as brilliant and eccentric not incompetent and foolish?
Rodney Ledward: "No, I would consider myself as a perfectly first class capable gynaecologist carrying out the duties of a district consultant.
"He's had his errors and so has everybody else but he's done that job in a perfectly reasonable manner, and there's no conceit here and you can put as much journalise into this as what you want about this arrogant conceited over - that's a load of bollocks, that is journalise passť.
"I am a perfectly capable gynaecologist whose done a first class job in a reasonable manner, had his errors like everybody else, and has provided a service of communication for the patients."
Interviewer: "What about those relatives of patients that say you are responsible for six deaths?
Rodney Ledward: "Yes, I've read that. That's pure journalise full stop."
Interviewer: "But no this is not journalise. This is coming from the relatives of those patients who say that you killed them.
Rodney Ledward: "I've read one case, one case only and that was seven years after the event and with great respect to the poor patient, she actually had cancer.
"I had done a hysterectomy seven years before. The patient had a malignant disease died seven years later. You can't correlate A with B there.
"But that is what gets in the newspapers."
Interviewer: "So you say you have done absolutely nothing wrong at all. That you haven't been incompetent, that you haven't botched a single operation. Is that what you are saying?"
Rodney Ledward: "I am telling you that I have done a thousand and one operations over 30-odd years and yes I've had my share of mistakes but I am saying that if we analyse and take my practice and put it under the microscope you will have a similar picture in very many of my colleagues and all you are creating is an era of defensive medicine.
"And people are taking early retirement and the health service is going to have to answer for it."
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