BBC NEWS
BBCi CATEGORIES   TV   RADIO   COMMUNICATE   WHERE I LIVE   INDEX    SEARCH 

BBC News UK Edition
 You are in: Health: Background Briefings: The Bristol heart babies  
News Front Page
World
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
UK Politics
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
Background Briefings
Medical notes
Education
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
CBBC News
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
The Bristol heart babies Monday, 6 September, 1999, 17:24 GMT 18:24 UK
Mother 'rushed' into switching off life-support
Bristol Royal Infirmary
The inquiry is investigating heart surgery at Bristol Royal Infirmary
A mother has claimed she was "rushed" into a decision to switch off the life support system of her brain-injured baby boy by a surgeon at the centre of the Bristol heart babies scandal.

Brenda Spicer, from Gloucester, told the public inquiry into the Bristol controversy that surgeon Mr Janardan Dhasmana said he was "under pressure" to switch off the machine and was not given enough time to be with her son Gary before he died.

Gary had been operated on for a serious heart problem - Fallot's tetralogy -involving four defects on April 11, 1989.

Over eight days after the operation the nine-month-old's blood pressure dropped and he became brain damaged before he died on April 18.

Mrs Spicer said: "On the 18th of April Mr Dhasmana told us how sick Gary was. He said we could have some extra time with him before everything was switched off but that he had pressures to switch off the machine as well.

"This was such a terrible shock. Mr Dhasmana said Gary was brain damaged and was not going to improve.

"He left the room and asked us to come out when we were ready. The anaesthetist switched everything off and a nurse asked us if we wanted to hold Gary, which we did. No-one offered us any practical help."

'Let's get moving'

Mr Janardan Dhasmana
Mr Janardan Dhasmana was barred from operating on children
Mrs Spicer described Mr Dhasmana's attitude as "let's get moving, let's switch off this machine, let's go".

She added: "As we left, all the nurses looked down at the floor or away and no-one spoke to us.

"Everything was done so quickly and we felt rushed. We just left Gary on that bed, packed up and went home.

"We weren't given any time and I regret we didn't sit with Gary longer. Where was he moved to?"

Mrs Spicer said she only realised the gravity of the situation when she said Mr Dhasmana told her: "Gary is brain damaged" before walking away.

"We had no-one to talk to. The nurses wouldn't say anything and we just sat there in shock," she said.

The Bristol inquiry is investigating care of babies undergoing complex heart surgery at Bristol Royal Infirmary (BRI) in the 12 years up to 1995.

It follows a long running General Medical Council inquiry which investigated 53 BRI operations in which 29 babies died and four were left brain injured.

The GMC struck off surgeon Mr James Wisheart and hospital manager Dr John Roylance. Mr Dhasmana was barred from operating on children for three years.

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


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more The Bristol heart babies stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | World | UK | England | N Ireland | Scotland | Wales |
UK Politics | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology |
Health | Education | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes