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The BBC's Wyre Davies reports
"A blunder that shocked the medical world"
 real 28k

Thursday, 3 February, 2000, 09:51 GMT
Probe into kidney blunder

Prince Philip Hospital Prince Philip Hospital has carried out its own internal inquiry

Two senior surgeons are beginning an investigation into an operating table blunder in which the wrong kidney was removed from a patient.

Graham Reeves, 69, was left critically ill when a medical team at Prince Philip Hospital in Llanelli, west Wales, removed his one healthy kidney by mistake.

Mr Reeves, from Burry Port, has been in a coma at Morriston Hospital in Swansea since the operation last week.

John Roberts Surgeon John Roberts is on leave
He now faces either a transplant operation or spending the rest of his life on dialysis.

The Royal College of Surgeons has announced it is to carry out its own inquiry into what went wrong during Mr Reeves' operation and two senior urologists are due to arrive at the hospital on Thursday.

Surgeons Fletcher Deane, who is president of the British Association of Urological Surgeons, and Keith Parsons, chief executive of the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospital NHS Trust, are due to meet senior managers of the Carmarthenshire NHS Trust before beginning their inquiry.

A spokeswoman for the Royal College of Surgeons said: "They have not been given a timescale for this investigation.

"It is not something that is going to be rushed into. It all depends on how long they need to get the information which they need.

"They are both very senior figures in quite prominent positions. They are also both neutral, never having worked in Wales or lived in Wales."

Graham Reeves Graham Reeves, from a picture taken in 1956
The medical team which performed the operation on Mr Reeves has been suspended from carrying out similar surgery until the results of the inquiry are known.

Jane Jeffs, Chief of Wales's Community Health Council said the public's confidence in the NHS had been shattered and said it was crucial that an independent inquiry was carried out.

She has called for more money to be injected into more rural hospitals to ensure they attracted good staff.

"The underlying problem we have at the moment is that the NHS is underfunded," she said.

"We just don't have enough doctors, we don't have enough nurses, we don't have enough organisers to make sure the system is working properly.

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See also:
02 Feb 00 |  Wales
Donation offers to kidney op victim
28 Jan 00 |  Wales
Kidney inquiry report postponed
27 Jan 00 |  Wales
'Once a decade' mistake
26 Jan 00 |  Wales
Surgeon removed healthy kidney
29 Jul 99 |  Health
Web patient guide for kidney disorders
30 Jan 00 |  Wales
Watchdog funding call in wake of kidney blunder

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