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Bristol surgeon ‘harmed’ 203 women with unnecessary operations

More than 200 women were harmed when a rogue surgeon carried out operations on them unnecessarily, an NHS inquiry has found.

Some of the women were left with life-changing physical problems or unable to work, while many also suffered trauma and serious psychological harm as a result.

Overall, 203 women on whom Anthony Dixon performed procedures between 2007 and 2017 came to harm, according to a review by the North Bristol NHS trust (NBT). Dixon, who for years was Britain’s most influential pelvic surgeon, worked for both the trust and the private Spire hospital in the city.

In 2017, NBT launched a review of Dixon’s performance and suspended him after dozens of women he had performed procedures on complained that they had experienced appalling consequences, including unmanageable pain and incontinence. The Guardian revealed in late 2017 that 100 women were suing him for medical negligence. Some cases have since been settled, but dozens are ongoing.

NBT sacked Dixon in 2019 and he is currently banned from practising in the UK.

During the review, 378 women were recalled and asked to set out their dealings with Dixon. All had undergone a procedure called laparoscopic ventral mesh rectopexy (LVMR), in which plastic mesh is inserted to repair weakened tissue in the pelvic floor.

In papers presented to NBT’s board on Thursday, board members were told that the inquiry had concluded. “The trust has notified 203 NHS patients that, although their LVMR operation was carried out satisfactorily, they should have been offered alternative treatments before proceeding to surgery. We have defined these patients as suffering ‘harm’ as a result,” it said.

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Source: The Guardian, 26 May 2022


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