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Doctor who removed a patient’s ovary in error continues to practice

A junior doctor who fatally removed the ovary of a pregnant woman instead of her appendix, has been permitted to carry on practising by a medical watchdog.

What happened?

Maria De Jesus was 20 weeks pregnant with her fourth child when she was admitted to hospital with suspected appendicitis.

Junior surgeon, Yahya Al-Abed, who performed the operation unsupervised, then mistakenly removed the 32-year-old’s ovary instead of her appendix.

It was less than three weeks later that the mother of three was readmitted to Queen’s Hospital in Romford suffering abdominal pains. She miscarried her baby boy and died four days later on the operating table.

The ruling

The Fitness to Practise panel of the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service heard that Mr Al-Abed had failed to realise he had taken out the ovary rather than the appendix.

The junior surgeon, who had worked at the hospital for less than three weeks, denied misconduct but admitted that he’d failed to tell his superiors that he had very little experience carrying out operations on pregnant women, and hadn’t had supervision from a consultant surgeon.

Though he admitted the error, which had been fatal to Ms De Jesus, the panel ruled in favour of Mr Al-Abed, allowing him to continue practising as a surgeon – though a range of restrictions to tighten supervision of him have been imposed.

In its written decision, the panel stated:

“The panel accepted that you are genuinely remorseful about your failings.
Regardless of subsequent events and the tragic outcome for
Patient A (Maria De Jesus) this case has clearly had
a profound personal impact upon you.

“It has been both a salutary lesson and a deeply humbling experience
which will stay with you for the rest of your life.

“The evidence before the panel indicated that the deep and lasting impact upon
you is such that you are highly unlikely to practise in a way which
poses an unwarranted risk to your patients in the future.”

If you, or someone you know, have been affected by medical negligence, and you would like expert advice, contact the Hampson Hughes Solicitors Medical Negligence Team today on 0151 242 1025 or email medicalnegligence@hampsonhughes.com

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