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Tuesday, 7 December, 1999, 17:04 GMT
Death inquiry dentist denies misconduct
Hospital sign The operation was carried out at Aberdeen Royal


A dentist has denied failing to explain the risks of being overweight before an operation to realign the jaw bones of a patient who suffered irreversible brain damage and died.

Consultant dental surgeon Roger Bainton, 53, was giving evidence at a disciplinary hearing of the General Dental Council where he was accused of serious professional misconduct.

Mr Bainton, of Inverurie, Aberdeenshire, told the hearing that he clearly remembered outlining the risks of surgery to Iain Duncan, on 15 December, 1994, five months before the operation.

surgery Surgery was to realign jaw
However, he said he did not make a record of the warning in his medical notes at the time.

"I remember it well because Mr Duncan talked about a Christmas present he knew he was going to get of a box of cigars and he was quite adamant that he was going to have them," said Mr Bainton.

The dentist said he had advised 17st Mr Duncan, 32, of Bridge of Don, Aberdeen, to give up smoking.

He said he realised that would mean he would put on weight, so he urged him to go on a diet before his operation, which was scheduled for 11 May, 1995, at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.

David Foskett QC, for the GDC, put it to him that as he had not made a medical note of this, nor mentioned it at a later fatal accident inquiry into Mr Duncan's death, this was "wishful thinking" on Mr Bainton's part.

Mr Bainton said the advice was given informally.

Monitor recovery

He said: "I'm a firm believer that you should not be paternalistic and that advice should be put in a way that patients can understand."

It was also alleged that he failed to give Mr Duncan adequate care after his operation, which was delayed until 22 May and failed to visit the patient and monitor his recovery.

Under questioning by his barrister, Kieran Coonan QC, Mr Bainton said he had intended to visit Mr Duncan on the morning after surgery but had been unexpectedly diverted to help with two emergency patients sent by the hospital's casualty department.

Aberdeen Royal Aberdeen Royal Infirmary
He said that if any member of staff looking after Mr Duncan had contacted him with any concerns whatsoever, he would have gone immediately to see his patient.

Mr Duncan suffered severe swelling following the operation and became increasingly distressed.

On 24 May, 1995, he went into ventilatory and cardiac arrest and was left in a "persistent vegetative state".

He died from bronchopneumonia on 15 November, 1995.

A junior colleague of Mr Bainton, dentist Simon Miles Duncan, allegedly failed to attend the patient when told by a nurse of his worsening condition - a charge which he denies.

The hearing continues
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