Medical Negligence Lawyers Supporting Former RAF Engineer And Administrator After They Were Operated On By Doctor Now Under Investigation
Patients left with life-changing injuries after operations performed by the same surgeon have revealed their hope for answers ahead of a tribunal into the doctor’s practice.
Gastro-intestinal surgeon Camilo Valero performed three gallbladder operations within five days at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, following which two patients complained of serious injuries.
Mr Valero’s employer, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, launched an investigation. The General Medical Council was alerted and it found Mr Valero had a case to answer. The matter was escalated to the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS).
A fitness to practise hearing is now due to take place later this month.
Ahead of it, two patients who suffered complications following surgery carried out by Mr Valero have spoken of their hope for answers.
Paul Tooth, 65, from Dereham, Norfolk, underwent a cholecystectomy to remove his gallbladder in January 2020. The following week, he was advised by Mr Valero that he had sustained an injury. He may need a liver transplant in the future.
The same procedure was also performed that week on Lucy Wilson, 35, from Norwich. She was found to have had her bile duct cut and had major surgery to correct it. She’s been left with life-changing complications.
The pair are being supported through the process by expert lawyers at Irwin Mitchell.
Expert Opinion“The past three years have been incredibly difficult for Paul and Lucy who are still suffering with the impact of their operations, how their lives have changed and what the future may hold.
While Mr Valero has been operating under restrictions, understandably Paul and Lucy continue to have concerns about what happened to them. While nothing can make up for what they’ve been through, this hearing is a major milestone in being able to provide them with all of the answers they deserve.
We continue to support them at the distressing time as they prepare to present their first-hand account to the tribunal. If during the course of the hearing further issues are identified, it’s vital that appropriate measures are taken to uphold patient safety.” Marianne Stapleton, Medical Negligence Lawyer
Since his injury, dad-of-two and former RAF engineer, Paul has undergone further surgery. He’s also struggled with pain and infection, and for 16 months the bile from his liver was collected in a bag and recycled back into his body through a tube up his nose.
Supported by his wife Sue and adult children, Paul is now recovering from yet further surgery ahead of giving evidence at the tribunal.
He said: “It’s been almost three years since my gallbladder surgery, and every single day since then has been a constant struggle.
“To this day, I still sometimes wish that I would wake up from the nightmare I’m in, but sadly it’s my reality.
“The whole thing has left me utterly devastated and I’m really worried about what the future holds. All I can hope for now is that the hearing gives us all the answers we need. It’s the least we deserve.”
Mum-of-two and former administrator Lucy lives with a range of long-term issues following her operation.
She lives with, and is supported by, her husband Paul, 43, and her two daughters, Lauren, 17 and eight-year-old Rose, who have all had to adjust to Lucy’s condition.
She said: “The operation has ruined my life and I’m practically housebound now, unable to enjoy the family days out we used to have.
“During the last three years, my physical and mental health have both deteriorated and it makes me so angry and upset to know that I’m not the only one going through this.
“I know there’s no way of turning back the clock and changing what’s happened. I just hope that we finally get those answers at the hearing and nobody else has to suffer like we have.”
In legal cases brought by Irwin Mitchell on behalf of Paul and Lucy, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust admitted liability for the errors and standard of care provided.
The Trust imposed restrictions on Mr Valero’s saying he shouldn’t perform gallbladder surgery unless under supervision. In 2021 the independent Interim Orders Tribunal made the order binding until the GMC investigation concluded.
The MPTS tribunal is scheduled to take place at St. James’s Buildings in Manchester between 23 January and 7 February.
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