2 Dec 2008

Surgeon found to have breached standards over operation

6:02 pm on 2 December 2008

The Health and Disability Commissioner has criticised a surgeon for failing to inform a patient he faced mounting risk from the surgery he was undergoing.

The 50-year-old patient who underwent gastric bypass surgery for obesity at an unnamed private clinic in early 2006 died later the same month.

Blood tests revealing liver problems were not noticed by the surgeon until immediately before surgery, when the patient was anaesthetised.

The surgeon opted to go ahead rather than delaying surgery to inform the patient the estimated risk of death that he faced within months of surgery had increased five-fold.

Health and Disability Commissioner Ron Paterson said the patient should have been woken before the operation and alerted to the mounting risk so he could give his full, informed consent.

His report said the surgeon breached standards by failing to give the patient an updated assessment, and he has referred the case for possible legal action.