Saturday 21 April 2018

Man given vasectomy by mistake after complaining about waiting times

Dr Nanikram Vaswani was meant to be removing scar tissue from the patient but gave the man a vasectomy instead

Stock image
Stock image

Nicola Harley

A hospital doctor who gave a man a vasectomy by mistake after he complained about waiting for another procedure has admitted misconduct charges.

Associate specialist in urology Dr Nanikram Vaswani was meant to be removing scar tissue from the patient, but a string of failings meant he performed a vasectomy instead.

A medical tribunal heard the patient had arrived at 7.30am for his surgery and was waiting with other men due to have vasectomies.

There was "some disquiet" when patients who arrived at 11am were seen before those who arrived earlier leading to confusion over which procedue the man should undergo.

There was “poor listing” on the day as patients who were due to be seen at 7.30am were being seen after those who arrived at 11am. “A certain amount of anger was displayed by patients on that day” because of these delays, the tribunal hears.

So a decision was made to change the order of the list in light of these complaints from patients - this was not communicated to the operating team. “It’s my understanding Patient A was brought into theatre outside of sequence for these reasons,” Christopher Dawson, a consultant urological surgeon says.

The mistake at Broadgreen Hospital, Liverpool, in February 2014 left the patient "physically and emotionally traumatised".

Dr Vaswani admitted failing to confirm the patient's identity, not reviewing the patient's medical notes and not following surgical checklists.

He also admitted failing to inform a consultant or the hospital trust after realising his mistake and not keeping a record of his discussions with the patient in the aftermath.

Dr Vaswani tried to reverse the vasectomy after realising the blunder but the General Medical Council (GMC) said this was inappropriate as he has not performed such a procedure for five years.

Opening the case against Dr Vaswani on behalf of the GMC, Hugh Barton said the man, known only as Patient A, arrived at 7.30am for his surgery.

A number of other men were in the clinic that day to have vasectomies carried out.

Mr Barton said: "It was agreed the vasectomies would be done first with the exception of one patient who was undergoing a circumcision.

"Six patients were completed without incident in the morning. There was then a break for lunch."

The Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service heard nurse Rosemary Tollitt - who faces separate misconduct allegations over the same incident at another hearing in London - went to collect the next patient after the lunch break ended.

Mr Barton said: "It was agreed Sister Tollitt would collect the next patient on the list.

"However, when she went there was some disquiet among patients as to the order in which they were being seen.

"Patients who arrived at 7.30am were up in arms that patients who arrived at 11am were being seen first.

"Patient A was not on the original surgical list but had been added at 11am."

The tribunal heard Ms Tollitt then escorted Patient A into theatre.

Mr Barton said Dr Vaswani then "did not ascertain the identity of Patient A, did not look at medical notes and did not participate in the completion of the World Health Organisation surgical checklist".

Mr Barton added: "On completion [of the vasectomy], he then looked for the first time at Patient A's notes and learnt of his mistake."

Dr Vaswani admits four allegations of misconduct. The panel will now consider whether he should be allowed to continue practising medicine.

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