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Tuesday, 1 February, 2000, 12:44 GMT
Trust bans 'private' amputations

Hospital entrance The hospital is trying to deflect criticism


No more private patients suffering from a psychological condition will have amputations carried out at Falkirk and District Royal Infirmary, the hospital trust has ruled.

But patients within the Forth Valley Acute Hospitals NHS Trust will be considered if the local health board gives prior approval.

The ban was confirmed by trust chairman Ian Mullen, following the controversy over two amputations carried out at the hospital on private patients with Body Dysmorphic Disorder.


Dr Robert Smith Dr Robert Smith: Surgery "only option"
Mr Mullen reiterated his view that the decision to operate had been "regrettable" and "unacceptable".

The two patients, one from England, the other from Germany, each had a lower leg removed in 1997 and April last year. They paid about 3,000 for the private treatment.

The condition leads to sufferers focusing on a perceived imperfection of particular body parts.

No discussions with chairman

The procedures were carried out by consultant surgeon Robert Smith after being refused by doctors across Europe.

Dr Smith has insisted the men's psychological and psychiatric treatment had failed and surgery was the only option.


Ian Mullen Ian Mullen: "Serious effect"
Mr Mullen said: "Treating people from outside our catchment area and even bringing them in from abroad was inappropriate and it is regrettable and unacceptable that it was not discussed with me as chairman.

"The decision was taken by the then medical director on purely medical grounds and the trust board was not approached, something we are disappointed about.

"This has had a serious effect on the reputation of this hospital and the view people take of it.

"I think people in the area are finding it extremely hard to understand why they were carried out here at a provisional district hospital after the treatment had been refused at hospitals across Europe."

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See also:
31 Jan 00 |  Scotland
Surgeon defends amputations
31 Jan 00 |  Medical notes
Body Dysmorphic Disorder Factfile
31 Jan 00 |  UK
Fit and well - yet in hospital

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