A SURGEON who left a Bridlington woman needing to breathe through a hole in her throat after botching her operation has been cleared to return to work.
Former Scarborough Hospital surgeon Nayef El-Barghouty was suspended from practising by the General Medical Council in July 2011 after being found guilty of misconduct and dishonesty following a series of botched surgical procedures.
These included the 2008 thyroidectomy of Bridlington mum-of-two Jo Roche.
A tribunal sitting in July extended Mr El-Barghouty’s original 12 month suspension, but a reconvened hearing in Manchester last Wednesday granted him the chance to return to work – but imposed 21 conditions to monitor his practice.
Mrs Roche, 43, said she was “disappointed” that Mr El-Barghouty would be able to return to work, but was glad that conditions were in place to make sure future employers “will be keeping a close eye on him.”
She said: “I would have liked to have seen him suspended for longer, or even struck off, but that would have already happened if it was ever going to.
“It still hurts a little bit that he is allowed back after what he has done. I know all of his operations did not end badly, but being a patient that suffered at his hands makes the thought of him operating on others a worry. I would not allow him to operate on me or anyone in my family again.
“I am living with the results of his negligence for the rest of my life.”
The Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service panel hearing Mr El-Barghouty’s case said it still “remained concerned” that he had “not yet fully accepted and adopted the principle that honesty is a fundamental tenet of the medical profession” – after he had lied under oath to a coroner following the death of 83-year-old Scarborough aneurysm patient Wilfrid Taylor, who died during the third operation carried out on him in a day.
The panel heard evidence from his mentor Professor Al-Doori, who said that Mr El-Barghouty had been “slightly bitter” about his suspension, and that he “had not discussed with him why he had been dishonest.”
But the panel was “impressed” with testimonials and evidence it had seen and “believed that Mr El-Barghouty is a better person and doctor.”
Mr El-Barghouty, who has been working in Saudi Arabia during his suspension, will now be allowed to return to practice in the UK from December 29 as long as he abides by 21 conditions for two years.
He will only be allowed to practise in the NHS, must notify the GMC upon accepting any job, and remain under the supervision of an educational supervisor.
Among other conditions, Mr El-Barghouty will not be able to work as a locum or work out-of-hours, or undertake thyroid surgery.
“That is a little victory,” said Mrs Roche, who works at Bridlington Medical Centre on Station Avenue. “He had carried out seven thyroidectomies in three years and two of us ended up with a tracheotomy. The odds of something going wrong should be one in 1000.
“I am glad that the conditions will mean that wherever he decides to work, people will be keeping a close eye on him.”
Back in July, a spokesperson for Scarborough Hospital said that while they could not discuss individual cases, “dependent on the individual circumstances, if an employment has been terminated it would be very unlikely that the staff member would be reappointed.”
A spokesperson this week said: “Mr El-Barghouty’s contract with the Trust was terminated in August 2011 following the outcome of the GMC Fitness to Practise hearing. As he is no longer employed by the Trust it would not be appropriate for us to comment further.”
Mrs Roche continued: “He has done too much to people in this area. I know he has family links close by, but I would not want to see him practising back in the area.
“Still, you feel sorry for people living in a different area who do not know what he has done.
“I believe that patients should have the right to see their surgeon’s record before having an operation. You can choose which hospital you go to, but we do not have the information on the surgeon.”