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Cancer surgery team “dysfunctional”

Posted in: Medical Negligence 

A recent report into the deaths of five cancer patients at a hospital in Kent has found that the surgery team was “dysfunctional”. The review of the cancer unit at Maidstone Hospital – carried out by the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) – actually took place in October, but has only now been made public due to pressure from victim’s families.  Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust finally agreed to make the report public, with the dynamics of the surgery team described as “dangerous”.

The review found that the upper-gastrointestinal surgeons working at Maidstone Hospital were not providing adequate, or even safe, treatment.  As a result of the report, the trust has admitted that the poor standard of treatment was to blame for the deaths of these five patients between 2012 and 2013.  All five of the victims died within a year of having undergone throat or stomach surgery.

“General lack of communication”

Despite a past request by the families of patients to have the trust make the findings public under the Freedom of Information Act, they had refused.  Now that it has been released, it has been highlighted that the four gastro-intestinal surgeons were a “dysfunctional team”, with other surgeons commenting on their “general lack of communication”.

The findings concluded that the surgeons were not fit to provide a safe and patient-centred service.  However, “the working agreements appear to exist to support the surgeons.

The medical director of the trust, Dr Paul Sigston, said that he would “like to apologise to the families involved” and would do anything to ensure that their questions were answered.

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