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EDITIONS
The Bristol heart babies Monday, 15 March, 1999, 23:27 GMT
Bristol heart surgeon sacked
Mr Dhasmana
Mr Dhasmana: contract terminated by Bristol Royal Infirmary
One of the surgeons at the centre of the Bristol heart babies scandal has been sacked.

Janardan Dhasmana will no longer be able to operate on adults at Bristol Royal Infirmary.

Mr Dhasmana was one of three doctors implicated in the deaths of 29 babies at the hospital between 1988 and 1995. Others were left seriously brain damaged after heart surgery.

The Bristol Heart Babies
Following the longest ever hearing at the General Medical Council, two of the doctors were banned from operating.

Surgeon Mr James Wisheart, and hospital manager Dr John Roylance were both found guilty of serious professional misconduct.

Mr Dhasmana, was also found guilty of serious professional misconduct, but the GMC ruled he could still work in the NHS.

Protest
The case sparked bitter protests
A ban was placed on Mr Dhasmana performing heart surgery on children for three years, but he was still able to operate on adults.

Health Secretary Frank Dobson led the public outcry at the GMC's failure to remove Mr Dhasmana from the medical register.

Mr Wisheart, who is now retired, and Mr Dhasmana, were deemed by the GMC to have continued to operate on children despite their poor success rate and without sufficient regard to the safety and best interests of their patients.

The GMC told Dr Roylance, former chief executive of the United Bristol Healthcare NHS Trust, that he should have stopped the surgeons operating when colleagues made clear their concerns about the number of children who had died.

He is appealing against the decision to strike him off the medical register.

The decision to terminate Mr Dhasmana's contract was taken after a series of lengthy talks between the hospital authorities, Dr Dhasmana and his legal team.

A statement from the United Bristol Healthcare NHS Trust said it had terminated Mr Dhasmana's contract "with regret".

Mr Dhasmana has the right to appeal against the decision.

Sad, but inevitable

Malcolm Curnow, whose nine-month-old daughter Verity died after a hole in the heart operation undertaken at Bristol Royal Infirmary, welcomed the decision to terminate Mr Dhasmana's contract.

Mr Curnow, who speaks on behalf of the Bristol baby families, said: "We are sad that a surgeon's career has come to an end in such a fashion, but under the circumstances the action taken by UBHT is wholly appropriate as his position had become untenable. We would have been extremely disappointed in UBHT had not taken this course of action.

"We only hope he has not been paid off and we are concerned that this decision does not proclude him from seeking employment elsewhere.

"He should have been struck off by the GMC, and then we would not be in this position."

A full public inquiry into the Bristol case is underway.

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