Botched operation victim disappointed as surgeon aims to return

Botched operation victim Jo Roche disappointed at surgeon's plan to return.
Botched operation victim Jo Roche disappointed at surgeon's plan to return.

THE victim of a botched operation has spoken of her disappointment as the surgeon responsible aims to return to work.

Bridlington mum-of-two Jo Roche’s life was drastically changed after surgery carried out by Dr Nayef El Barghouty at Scarborough Hospital went wrong and left her having to breathe through a tube in her throat.

Last July, the General Medical Council suspended Dr El Barghouty for 12 months after it was ruled he had put patients – including Mrs Roche – at an “unwarranted risk of harm”.

But on July 18, the surgeon will attend a fitness to practice hearing where the GMC will review the case and decide whether to reinstate his licence.

Mrs Roche, 42, whose operation was carried out in 2008, said: “I am disappointed, I had hoped that he would not be able to practice again as there are a number of people whose lives were affected by operations he carried out.

“While it is disappointing, we kind of expected it as he is obviously entitled to reapply for his license.

“I would hope that he has learned something in the 12 months since his suspension and that if he practises again, he would ensure mistakes are not made again.

“I’m sure the fact that he has not been practising for 12 months has probably saved lives.”

Dr El Barghouty’s fitness to practice hearing will take place in Manchester and will see a GMC panel review the case of impairment by reason of misconduct.

A spokesperson for the Scarborough NHS Trust, which last week merged with the York Foundation Trust, said it could not comment on individual cases but said “dependent on the individual circumstances, if an employment has been terminated it would be very unlikely that the staff member would be reappointed”.

Mrs Roche, who is married to David, 45, and has two children Calvin, 16, and Poppy, 13, said: “The chairman apologised to all those affected at a board meeting after the GMC’s decision last year so I would find it hypocritical if the trust ever considered re-employing him.”

During last year’s hearing, the GMC said the 90 minutes it took Dr El Barghouty to conduct Mrs Roche’s thyroidectomy was “extremely speedy” and that the operation should normally take between two and three hours.

The GMC ruled that the majority of facts against Dr El Barghouty had been proved and that he had brought the medical profession into disrepute, breached “fundamental tenets” of the profession and acted dishonestly in a way that was “deliberate and sustained”.

That hearing was also told about 83-year-old Scarborough man Wilfrid Taylor. Errors meant that the aneurysm patient had three operations in a day, sadly he died during the third.

At the fitness to practice hearing to be held on July 18, the GMC will ask for information from “professional colleagues and other persons of standing” about Dr El Barghouty’s conduct since last year’s hearing.

Despite her disappointment, Mrs Roche has said that she “doesn’t want to keep focussing on the negatives” and is considering a further operation that could see the tube in her throat removed.

“It has been four years since the operation and I have learned to live with the tracheotomy, even though I can’t do things that I enjoyed before, like swimming,” continued Jo, who works at Bridlington Medical Centre on Station Avenue.

“There is the possibility of another operation, but I will have to think of all the consequences before I go ahead with anything.

“I get short of breath and I am more prone to infection, but I have to look at the positives. I enjoy working at the Medical Centre and that is one of the things that keeps me going.”