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Surgeon denies telling patient he threw her womb in a bucket


Peter Van Geene

Peter Van Geene

Peter Van Geene

A consultant gynaecologist has denied that he told a patient he had thrown her womb in a bucket on the floor following surgery.

Giving evidence before a Medical Council fitness-to-practise hearing in Dublin yesterday, Peter Van Geene also denied a claim that he had hit a patient, saying the idea of hitting a patient was "anathema" to him.

Mr Van Geene faces a number of allegations in relation to four women on whom he performed vaginal hysterectomies between 2009 and 2011 at Aut Even hospital in Kilkenny.

Three of the women suffered major post-operative blood loss and required massive blood transfusions. Helen Cruise, the only patient involved in the inquiry to waive her right to anonymity, had her surgery at Aut Even in August 2011.

After Mr Van Geene performed her hysterectomy, Ms Cruise suffered a major post-operative bleed, and developed further complications.

She was later transferred to St Luke's Hospital for treatment.

In his evidence yesterday, Mr Van Geene suggested that perhaps Ms Cruise had suffered from "transference", that is, a desire to blame the doctor for everything that goes wrong during a procedure.

Ms Cruise claimed that, after her hysterectomy, Mr Van Geene said he threw her womb into a bucket on the floor.

When questioned about this by barrister Neasa Bird, legal representative for the CEO of the Medical Council, Mr Van Geene said: "Did I say it? Oh, absolutely not.

"How can you say that to a patient? You can't. That would be just outrageous."

Mr Van Geene also said he was happy to meet Ms Cruise when she requested to speak to him shortly before being discharged from St Luke's Hospital.

He said he was happy to speak with her and thought it was important to do so.

He said he went to St Luke's expecting to explain what had happened.

"Unfortunately, she took umbrage with everything I said," he told the inquiry, adding that she blamed him for everything.

"What was disappointing was that, whenever I tried to explain everything, she got very angry," he said.

Ms Cruise previously told the inquiry that Mr Van Geene blamed her for the post-operative bleed, saying that her coughing had caused it.

Mr Van Geene said he did suggest that it may have been caused by coughing. However, he said: "I was attempting to explain what had happened. No more, no less." He also denied telling Ms Cruise "sue me" after she complained to him about the care he had provided.

"Ms Cruise said, 'you're not God' - which I'm perfectly aware of," Mr Van Geene continued. "Ms Cruise also said I hit her. That is anathema. There are a number of things Ms Cruise said that I didn't do."

Irish Independent