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GMC To Investigate Surgeon Following Death of Businessman During Clinical Trial


The heartbroken widow of a Warwickshire businessman who died of a massive heart attack during a clinical trial said the investigation by the General Medical Council into the conduct of the surgeon involved, that will begin this week, is the ‘final milestone’ for her and her young family.

Luigi Belcuore, 43, known as ‘Louis’, underwent what was supposed to be a relatively straightforward operation at the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital in Oswestry, on 20th October 2009.

However the surgery, which had been testing new techniques for treating knee cartilage problems, ended tragically when the surgeon injected air into Louis’ knee joint, causing an air embolism (air in the bloodstream) which led to him suffering a massive, fatal heart attack.

Just four weeks after Louis’ death, his widow, Penny, discovered that she was expecting their third child. Sadly, Louis never knew that he was going to be a father again. He leaves behind a family of two young daughters aged four and six and a son, now aged two.

Medical law experts at Irwin Mitchell representing the Belcuore family in their battle for justice also welcomed the decision by the GMC to investigate the conduct of the surgeon involved.  The GMC’s fitness to practice hearing against Professor James Richardson, will take place in Manchester, starting on Wednesday 18th July 2012.

Victoria Blankstone, a medical law specialist at law firm Irwin Mitchell, said: “This was an appallingly tragic death which should never have happened.

“Louis’ heartbroken family have found it extremely difficult to come to terms with the way in which he died. An inquest into his death in March 2011 which recorded a narrative verdict provided the family with many of the answers they were searching for regarding what happened but they appreciate the need for a deeper investigation. 

“The Hospital Trust has now admitted liability for the failings in his care in a civil case and this week’s GMC investigation into the conduct of the surgeon involved represents the final milestone for the family, who have been determined to seek justice for Louis and fully understand the circumstances which led to his needless and untimely death.”

Mr Belcuore, a well respected businessman from Morton Bagot, near Studley in Warwickshire, was the Northern European Sales Manager for American computer graphics giant, NVIDIA. In addition to his widow Penny and their three young children, Louis leaves behind three sisters and his elderly parents who live in Amalfi, Italy.

Mr Belcuore’s widow, Penny, commented: “Life without Louis has at times been almost too much to bear but I have had to find the strength to carry on for the sake of our two daughters and our baby boy.

“Louis had so much energy – he loved his job which took him all over Europe, he enjoyed football and all kinds of sport, but most of all he loved spending time with his two daughters. The hardest thing of all is that both they, and the son he never even got to see, will now grow up without their Dad.”