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The Bristol heart babies Monday, 15 March, 1999, 23:26 GMT
Bristol surgeon appeals against dismissal
Dr Dhasmana
Janardan Dhasmana's contract was terminated earlier this month
One of the surgeons at the centre of the Bristol baby death scandal has launched an appeal to get his job back.

The Bristol Heart Babies
Janardan Dhasmana was sacked from his post at Bristol Royal Infirmary earlier this month.

He was one of three doctors found guilty of serious professional misconduct by the General Medical Council, doctors' regulatory body, in connection with the deaths of 29 babies at Bristol Royal Infirmary between 1988 and 1995.

He and fellow surgeon James Wisheart were accused of continuing to operate on children despite their poor success rate and without sufficient regard to the safety and best interests of their patients.

Dr John Roylance, former chief executive of the United Bristol Healthcare Trust, was accused of failing to stop the surgeons operating when colleagues made clear their concerns about the number of children who had died.

Dr Roylance is appealing against the GMC decision.

Adult operations

The GMC barred Mr Wisheart and Dr Roylance from operating, although both have now retired.

It said Mr Dhasmana should not operate on children for three years, but did not rule out operations on adults.

However, the hospital has since decided to dismiss him.

Protesters
Some families who lost children after surgery think Mr Dhasmana should not work again
Mr Dhasmana, who is currently in India, is appealing against this decision, but not against the GMC ruling.

He is backed by a group of former heart surgery patients and their relatives.

The Bristol Surgeons' Support Group was set up after the GMC hearing to support Mr Wisheart and Mr Dhasmana.

Representatives met on Tuesday with Hugh Ross, the chief executive of the United Bristol Healthcare NHS Trust which runs Bristol Royal Infirmary.

Pressure

Spokeswoman Ellen Ellis said he told the group that he personally took the decision to sack Mr Dhasmana after careful consideration.

She said he felt Mr Dhasmana would not be able to do his job properly in light of the pressure he faced in the aftermath of the GMC inquiry.

The 500 member support group argues that he should be allowed to continue operating on adults.

Mrs Ellis said: "This group has every sympathy with the parents who have lost children in paediatric surgery, but we have to look at this man's skills.

"My husband had quadruple bypass surgery carried out by Mr Dhasmana and there are many people like him who would be happy to have surgery by him again.

"Why has he been dismissed if the GMC and an internal report by the hospital shows he has done nothing wrong in adult cases?"

Frank Dobson

She blamed media reports of the case and Health Secretary Frank Dobson's remarks about the case following the GMC ruling.

Frank Dobson
Frank Dobson called for all three doctors to be struck off
He said all three surgeons should be barred from operating and has called a public inquiry into the case which has caused much discussion in the NHS.

Mrs Ellis said: "It is possible Mr Dhasmana will not be able to work anywhere else in the country when there is no reason he should not return to work.

"Every time my husband looks at Mr Dhasmana he says 'you had my heart in your hands'. We and all the people who are alive and well and have been given a second chance by him want him back at work."

She added that many adults were waiting for heart surgery and the NHS could not afford to lose an experienced doctor.

Bristol Royal Infirmary says Mr Dhasmana has not been replaced yet.

Members of the Bristol Heart Children's Action Group, which represents parents of the children who died following heart surgery, believe Mr Dhasmana should never work again.

Links to more The Bristol heart babies stories are at the foot of the page.


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