Chingford doctor suspended over fatal neglect

5:22am Saturday 2nd June 2007

By Jonathan Bunn

An east London doctor has been suspended for failing to treat an infection that killed a 77-year-old woman.

Dr Bhuban Mohan Choudhury, of Chingford, did not properly examine Mildred Swain, 77, from Dagenham, in the days leading up to her death from a series of massive haemorrhages on April 27, 2002.

Despite an obvious deterioration in the great grandmother's health following an operation on her leg, Dr Choudhury recorded her condition as stable.

He was criticised for being "abrupt and sarcastic" to Mrs Swain's daughter when he said her mother did not have an infection and would not suffer further bleeding.

Dr Choudhury was suspended for six months at a General Medical Council (GMC) hearing last week. It is not the first time he has been disciplined. In 1999 he was struck off for a year after waging a hate-mail campaign against three colleagues.

Dr Timothy Cheatle, who carried out vascular surgery on Mrs Swain at Oldchurch Hospital in Romford, was also suspended for ten months for failing to take sufficient action to halt the infection. He was also criticised for the way he treated Mrs Swain's family.

Mrs Swain's daughter, Malita McDermot, said her mother had suffered pain in her legs for some time but was still active.

However after the operation she needed a support frame just to make a cup of tea. Mrs McDermot said her mother slept in a chair because the pain following surgery was too great to sleep in bed.

Thumbing through photographs taken of her mother's legs before her death Mrs McDermot told the hearing: "It's Okay, I watched my mother bleed to death, nothing shocks me now.

"At the time it was bulging in between the stitches and it was quite red. It reminded you of a piece of pork stitched up."

Stephen Brassington, for the GMC, told the hearing that the doctors' failure to take action was fatal.

Addressing Dr Choudhury he said: "The panel is concerned that your misconduct arose on numerous occasions in your treatment of an at-risk patient.

"You did not recognise that Mrs Swain was at risk of further haemorrhage. You did not consult or alert Mr Cheatle or another supervising consultant of Mrs Swain's condition."

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