19 Feb 2009

Hospital denies wrongdoing over hip operation

5:52 pm on 19 February 2009

A private hospital in Wellington says it is not responsible for a surgeon's mistakes made during a double hip operation.

The Health and Disability Commissioner has issued a report confirming that John Gilbert's surgeon at Wakefield Hospital used replacements that were too small during the operation in 2007.

He says he suffered six hip dislocations in the following 12 days and that the hospital is charging him $32,837.

Mr Gilbert says he now has to use a walking stick, and hasn't been able to work since getting new replacements at Wellington Hospital.

He says the Wakefield Hospital advertises the surgeon on its website and must take some responsibility.

The commissioner, Ron Paterson, has referred the case to the Medical Council, which he says could impose additional training requirements on the doctor.

Mr Paterson says the report, which describes the surgeon's performance as "suboptimal", is a significant reprimand.

The hospital says the report clears it of wrongdoing and it's not charging for the surgeon's expenses, but for the care and supplies it provided.

The commissioner also says the hospital gave excellent care.