The inquest with a sting in the tail

Surgeon Mr David Sellu, convicted for gross negligence manslaughter of a patient – overturned on appeal after a 30-month prison sentence, continues his story from last month.

The Clementine Churchill Hospital, June 2010

The internal investigation, conducted by the now defunct company Healthcare Performance Ltd, was asked by BMI’s group medical director Prof Duncan Empey to also investigate all my work over the previous years to see where I might have made mistakes.

Put any surgeon’s work under such close scrutiny and they will have cases that went badly – we are all human and we do not always make perfect decisions. And if I had mismanaged patients, the matter should have been dealt with then and there, not years later.

The role of the hospital and any failings in its systems were unknown at this stage. As we found out later, these findings were suppressed throughout my subsequent case. And the training and qualification of the investigators to carry out such an inquiry were unknown and never questioned.

Hard-hitting criticisms

A critical report into my handling of the index case, referred to unofficially as the Empey report, followed but suppressed the Root Cause Analysis (RCA) carried out by the hospital’s own quality manager.