Doctor Can No Longer Perform Gallbladder Surgery Unless Supervised As GMC Investigation Continues
Patients left with life-changing injuries following ‘botched’ operations have welcomed the decision to place operating restrictions on a surgeon.
The General Medical Council (GMC) is investigating Camilo Valero, a gastro-intestinal surgeon at Norfolk and Norwich Hospital. This comes after he performed three gallbladder operations within five days in January 2020, following which at least two patients reported being seriously injured.
Restrictions on surgeon Camilo Valero
An independent Interim Orders Tribunal – held by the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service - has ruled that while the GMC investigation is going, Mr Valero is not allowed to carry out any gallbladder surgery unless he is under supervision.
One of the patients who suffered complications following surgery performed by Mr Valero is Paul Tooth from Norfolk. He underwent a cholecystectomy to remove his gallbladder in January 2020. A week later, he was advised by Mr Valero that he had suffered an injury. Paul, 63, is now facing the prospect of a possible liver transplant.
Another patient in the same week, Lucy Wilson, 33, from Norwich underwent the same procedure also performed by Mr Valero. Lucy remained unwell for nine days after the operation until scans were performed that showed that Lucy’s bile duct had been cut. She needed a major operation to rectify the problem. Lucy has been left with long term and life changing complications.
Medical Negligence lawyers working with Norfolk and Norwich Hospital Trust
Both Paul and Lucy have instructed medical negligence experts at Irwin Mitchell to investigate their treatment which was performed at Norfolk and Norwich Hospital.
The pair’s legal team is working with Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which has admitted liability for the error and standard of care provided during and after Paul and Lucy’s cholecystectomies.
Expert Opinion“What Paul and Lucy have been through is nothing short of traumatic. What were meant to be routine operations have completely turned their lives upside down.
Both our clients are unsure of what the future holds for them, and both their physical and mental health has been affected.
While nothing can make up for what happened to Paul and Lucy we join them in welcoming the restrictions that have been placed on Mr Valero whilst the GMC’s process continues.
It’s important to remember that the GMC investigation is ongoing and no final decisions have been made. In the meantime we hope this action to safeguard patient safety will help maintain public confidence in the health service.
We continue to work with the Trust to help provide Paul and Lucy with all of the answers to their concerns. Once again, where appropriate, we call for every lesson possible to be learned from what happened.”
Guy Forster - Partner
Paul Tooth: Further surgery
Following his injury, former RAF Avionics engineer Paul has to recycle bile from his liver, which is collected in a bag and then pumped back into his body via a tube up his nose.
He has been readmitted to hospital numerous times with pain and infection. He also recently underwent further surgery.
The father-of-two said: “The past year has been the worst of my life, with my condition continuing to deteriorate. Every day is such a struggle now.
“When you go into hospital, you literally put your lives in the hands of the doctors and surgeons, and I feel that I was completely let down. I’m left in a devastating position where I just have no idea what kind of future I face.
“To know that some restrictions have now been put on Mr Valero is at least a step in the right direction. It has finally provided me with some reassurance that what happened is being investigated properly.”
Lucy Wilson: Lasting complications
Lucy, a mother-of-two and a former administrator, is near housebound due to the lasting complications from the operation and is awaiting further surgery.
She said: “Since last January, my life has fallen to pieces. When I was told what had happened, I was so upset and angry. To then find out two other people had also been affected by botched surgery was shocking.
“I’ve struggled physically and emotionally, with some days worse than others, but I know there’s nothing I can do to change what I’m going through.
“I’m just relieved that Mr Valero can no longer perform these operations without supervision, but I do feel that this should have been enforced earlier to ensure it doesn’t happen to others.”