Swedish doc could be charged for 'fatal' UK op

David Landes
David Landes - [email protected] • 14 Jul, 2009 Updated Tue 14 Jul 2009 18:16 CEST

A Swedish plastic surgeon may face a criminal investigation in the UK after the wife of a famous footballer died last week from complications attributed to a bungled 2002 liposuction treatment.


The surgeon, Gustaf Aniansson, who has also been accused of incompetence by more than a dozen other former patients in the United Kingdom, continues to practice in Sweden at the prestigious Nackakliniken near Stockholm, according to Sky News.

Last week, 43-year-old Denise Hendry, wife of former Scotland football captain and Blackburn Rangers star Colin Hendry, died of complications stemming from an operation originally carried out by Aniansson seven years earlier at Broughton Park Hospital near Preston, England.

Hendry’s family finally decided to shut off life support after Hendry failed to come out of a coma after 11 weeks.

She lost consciouness due to an infection which arose during what doctors at the Salford Royal Hospital had hoped would be the final phase of her extended recovery after her bowel and colon were pierced nine times during the surgery performed by Aniansson, The Daily Mail reports.

“There is no doubt that Mrs. Hendry underwent surgery at Salford because of what happened to her at the Preston hospital,” a senior Lancashire police officer told the newspaper.

“If a direct link can be made with the original surgery you can be looking at a manslaughter inquiry. There is no time limit on such an investigation. Gross negligence would result in such a charge being laid.”

Hendry almost didn’t make it off the operating table following the original procedure in April 2002, suffering from blood poisoning, kidney failure, a heart attack, and a collapsed lung as a result of the intestinal punctures.

“Complications are regrettable, but you get used to them. I had done 500 similar operations before without any problems but this time it went wrong,” Aniansson said in 2003, according to The Daily Mail.

“It's tragic but you learn and it is possible to move on. This is a difficult job. There are risks.”

According to Sky News, Aniansson had himself removed from the British medical register in 2003, ending his ability to practice medicine in the UK, and also allowing him to avoid a public hearing into his alleged mistakes.

As a result, the British General Medical Council (GMC) never issued a warning about Aniansson, paving the way for the Swedish surgeon to continue practising in his home country.

In just over a year of working in Sweden, Aniansson has already been the subject of five complaints, although medical authorities have so far only taken action in one of the cases, sending him a “notice letter”, which is less serious than a formal reprimand.

The latest complaint, issued in March of 2009, is still under investigation, according to Sky News.

Attempts by The Local to contact Aniansson and his current clinic for comment on Tuesday were unsuccessful.


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