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Competency review for NZ surgeon

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 1/08/2016

A surgeon will have his competency reviewed and has been recommended to write a letter of apology to the family of a man who endured a `suboptimal' surgery.

The 60-year-old underwent surgery to remove a large portion of his bowel in January 2013, three months after being diagnosed with rectal cancer.

Before his death in 2015, the man sought a review of the surgeon's work by Health and Disability Commissioner Anthony Hill.

In the days after his surgery, the man developed a fever and pain which tests indicated could have been caused by a tear where the surgeon had reconnected the bowel, however the surgeon ruled that out.

The man was later taken back to theatre where a tear was discovered in another part of the bowel, which was fixed laparoscopically.

The man eventually required further emergency surgery, carried out by a second surgeon, after a full tear was discovered where the bowel had been re-joined.

"It was found that (the surgeon's) persistence with the laparoscopic approach, in all of the circumstances, was suboptimal," Mr Hill said, adding that the doctor failed to provide the patient with services of reasonable care and skill.

The man continued to receive treatment for the cancer, but died in 2015.

Mr Hill recommended the surgeon write a letter of apology to the man's family within three weeks, and that the Medical Council of New Zealand consider a competence review.

His District Health Board was also recommended to conduct a credentials review and report back to the HDC.

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