BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: UK: Scotland
Front Page 
Northern Ireland 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Wednesday, 26 July, 2000, 15:04 GMT 16:04 UK
Risks to boy 'never explained'
Dentists graphic
Maurice Beckett, Hallgier Pederson and Paul Shields
The mother of a boy who died after receiving a general anaesthetic at a dental surgery said she would not have allowed it to be used on him if the risks had been explained.

Isla Denholm told a disciplinary hearing that no-one at the Peffermill clinic, in Edinburgh, advised her of possible alternatives available to her son Darren.

The 10-year-old, of Woodend Walk, Armadale, went into cardiac arrest during a tooth extraction on 9 October, 1998.

Darren Denholm
Darren Denholm: "Fit, healthy wee boy"
Dentists Maurice Beckett, Paul Shields and Hallgier Pederson face allegations of serious professional misconduct resulting from the tragedy.

The anaesthetist involved, Dr John Evans-Appiah, is scheduled to appear before a General Medical Council disciplinary committee in the autumn.

In a statement read to the General Dental Council's professional conduct committee, in London, Mrs Denholm said: "If anyone had explained to me that there were risks I would have asked what they were.

"If I had been told there was a very small risk of serious damage then I would not have wanted Darren to have had a general anaesthetic for such a small procedure."

Mrs Denholm said her son as a "very fit and healthy wee boy".

He had been diagnosed with asthma when younger but this had not deterred him from leading an active life.

Consent form

Mrs Denholm's statement was read out by David Foskett, QC, for the GDC.

In it, she said that on the day of her son's death, she had taken him to the clinic with her mother, Alice Campbell.

She said: "I went to the reception desk and gave them the letter of referral.

"A woman gave me two forms to fill in, a patient's acceptance form and a consent form including medical questionnaire.

Isla Denholm
Isla Denholm: "Casual atmosphere in cliinc"
"I can't offer any explanation as to why the medical conditions part was not filled in."

Mrs Denholm said the atmosphere in the clinic as "very informal, casual, almost lackadaisical".

During the previous day's proceedings, dental assistant Kirsty Thompson said vital monitors had not been connected to Darren.

In her statement, Mrs Thompson said Darren did not have blood pressure or ECG monitors attached to him before the operation.

Mr Beckett faces 14 charges, Darren's own dentist, Mr Shields, faces seven charges and Hallgier Pedersen, a Norwegian dentist who was working at the Peffermill Clinic, faces three charges.

The three men have admitted most of the allegations.

The hearing has been adjourned until Thursday morning after one of the committee members fell ill.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
See also:

25 Jul 00 | Scotland
Monitors 'not attached' to patient
24 Jul 00 | Scotland
Dentists charged with misconduct
21 Jul 00 | Health
Anaesthesia ban for dentists
08 Apr 00 | Scotland
GMC suspends anaesthetist
27 Mar 00 | Scotland
No prosecution over dental death
26 Feb 00 | Scotland
Experts criticise dental training
25 Feb 00 | Scotland
Fatal inquiry anaesthetist resigns
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Scotland stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Scotland stories