Surgeon Roger Bainton 'Harmed' Patients Inquiry Finds

Inquiry Finds 18 People Affected By Botched Operations

09.07.2014

Suspended surgeon Roger Bainton caused harm to 18 different patients while treating them for injuries to the face and skull, an investigation into his conduct has found.

Roger Bainton, who worked for the University Hospital of North Staffordshire, was suspended in February this year amid concerns about his work. The General Medical Council (GMC) launched an investigation of its own and restricted the procedures the surgeon could carry out.

The Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) inquiry found Mr Bainton had carried out a number of unacceptable practices while performing reconstruction work on the faces of accident or assault victims. Among these was the use of an experimental and unproven bone substitute called DBX to treat damaged eye sockets.

It also found he had undertaken "unnecessary" surgery on people with jaw injuries.

Mr Bainton remains suspended while the GMC carries out its investigation, with the potential that he could be struck off.

Medical director at the hospital Robert Courteney-Harris said he was "profoundly sorry" about the fact that some people had been harmed.

"They can have absolute confidence that they will receive the best possible care and treatment from our senior oral and maxillofacial consultants," he added.

As part of its further investigations, the hospital has contacted 36 more patients operated on by Mr Bainton to invite them to be checked up at its clinic. These individuals had all been treated with DBX in areas of the skull where it is allowed, the Stoke Sentinel reports.

The RCS has committed itself to remaining as open as possible about its members and their performance records.

Last month it hailed the establishment of an online database publishing the individual records of 3,500 surgeons and their individual results. This will enable the public to study how a particular practitioner has performed in more than 20 specific fields of work, such as hip surgery.

The information will be available via the NHS Choices website and RCS president Professor Norman Williams called the development "the beginning of a new era for openness in medicine".

More than 99 per cent of RCS surgeons consented to the use of their data.

Expert Opinion
The results of the RCS inquiry are deeply concerning as it is simply unacceptable for any patients undergoing surgery to fall victim to unnecessary harm.

“It is worrying that so many patients have been affected and questions remain about how Mr Bainton was allowed to perform treatments using products that are not approved for that use by the regulatory bodies.

“The Trust must be transparent in communicating with all patients affected as they deserve answers about what systems potentially failed to allow this surgeon to carry out unacceptable practices on such a wide scale.

“This is the only way to provide reassurance that steps have been taken to ensure the same harm can never be caused again.”
Jenna Harris, Associate