Panel rules on probe into young wife's surgery death at Harpenden hospital

PUBLISHED: 18:27 07 September 2009 | UPDATED: 14:24 06 May 2010

Louise Field with her estranged husband Ian

Louise Field with her estranged husband Ian

A TOP surgeon faces an anxious wait over his professional future due to blunders made during an operation to cure a sportswoman s excessive sweating. Louise Field, 27, died two days after vascular surgeon Dr Michael Ormiston accidentally punctured her lung

A TOP surgeon faces an anxious wait over his professional future due to blunders made during an operation to cure a sportswoman's excessive sweating.

Louise Field, 27, died two days after vascular surgeon Dr Michael Ormiston accidentally punctured her lung and pumped gas into her stomach, the General Medical Council heard.

Trainee accountant Mrs Field, who previously lived in High Street, Wheathampstead with her husband Ian, chose to have an operation to suppress nerves behind her ribs to cure the sweating.

Ormiston performed the surgery at the BUPA Hospital in Harpenden, now the Spire Harpenden Hospital on March 20, 2002.

A needle became misplaced when Ormiston of Abbey Mill End, St Albans, inserted it into the chest area in order to pump carbon dioxide in and deflate the lung.

The lung became punctured and a 4cm hole was torn in the tissue.

Anaesthetist Wasfy Yanny, of Penny Croft, Harpenden, recorded a dangerously low oxygen saturation level but failed to stop the procedure, the hearing was told.

It was at this point that Mrs Field's brain was starved of oxygen.

When she failed to come round after the operation she was transferred to Hemel Hempstead Hospital's intensive care unit.

It was not until the following day that Ormiston finally apologised to the family, telling them he must have punctured a lung.

Mrs Field's life support machine was switched off the following day.

Yanny admitted "mistakes" during the operation but denied dishonest conduct.

Ormiston admitted making inaccurate records after the operation but denied poor communication with Yanny.

Dr Ormiston and Yanny were both found guilty of conduct that fell "below the standard expected of a medical practitioner."

The panel also ruled their conduct was "inappropriate and not in the best interests of the patient."

Yanny should have known the likelihood of brain damage to his patient as a result of the botched operation, the GMC ruled.

His failure to alert staff at the treating hospital to the situation was "inappropriate" and contributed to the wrong course of treatment being offered.

Ormiston and Yanny had faced a total of 41 charges relating to their conduct during the routine elective surgery.

They were cleared of charges that their clinical procedures were incorrect.

Yanny was cleared of dishonesty over a failure to discuss Mrs Field's brain damage with colleagues.

He had been accused of a 'conspiracy' to cover up Mrs Field's brain damage to staff and family.

After finding aspects of the doctors' conduct to be inappropriate the panel will not now rule on whether they are guilty of serious professional misconduct until February 23 next year.

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