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Swedish doc could be charged for 'fatal' UK op

David Landes · 14 Jul 2009, 18:16

Published: 14 Jul 2009 18:16 GMT+02:00

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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.

Story continues below…

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.

David Landes (david.landes@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

22:12 July 14, 2009 by voiceofreason
Liposuction is a risky sugery, many people have died doing it (Nigeria 1st lady, Famous mexican drug baron, Kanye West's mum), apart from that, complications arise in surgery and this may just be the case here.

However we have a culture of suing doctors over every possible case we can imagine. No wonder health care costs in so astronomical and our inefficient governments use tax funds to prop it caring less for those who worked for the money in he first place.
00:57 July 15, 2009 by RoyceD
Two things which would have helped here:

1) Voluntarily removing yourself from the Medical Register should not halt a public trial for something that occurred while you were a member of that register. Hope fully that has been addressed by the legal system there.

2) Returning to work in Sweden as a Medical practitioner of any kind should at in the very least require a full patient history report to be examined by some board of doctors or even a state run commission.
01:56 July 15, 2009 by delusion1982
Another case on the list of glory of the astonishingly monitored health care system
03:08 July 15, 2009 by Omidn
Any medical procedures can be risky however, this Dr. should be on probation and the case should be reviewed by the college of Physicians and Surgeons of UK for further evaluations.
08:20 July 15, 2009 by skane refugee
Innocent until proven guilty of course ...

But surely this guy would have welcomed a British GMC investigation to clear his name if 500 similar operations had gone smoothly before?

If there's a criminal investigation ... at least he'll get his day in court and the truth will out ...
16:34 July 15, 2009 by Tutu
it sounds really foolish, but I think i now support the idea of choosing doctors that i understand. this is probably of the third murder case iin the last 3 weeks involving a swedish doctor. . is it because they are not good or communications problem
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