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Case study: A consultant surgeon turns to Medical Protection when elective work is criticised

Post date: 26/06/2023 | Time to read article: 2 mins

The information within this article was correct at the time of publishing. Last updated 28/06/2023

An experienced vascular surgeon is shaken when three recent deaths ignite an MHPS investigation. 

Mr Bradley, Consultant Vascular Surgeon*, was informed by his Trust that he was subject to a Maintaining High Professional Standards (MHPS) disciplinary investigation due to concerns about his capability.

Mr Bradley had experienced three deaths during or following elective abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) repair in the past two months. He was shaken and beginning to doubt his own abilities. He called Medical Protection for advice.


How Medical Protection helped

The medicolegal consultant (MLC) handling his case requested a copy of the Trust’s disciplinary policy and sought permission to attend any subsequent meetings with Mr Bradley. She reviewed the clinical cases with our consultant member and assisted him in providing a factual account of his involvement. She also suggested that it would be helpful to review Mr Bradley’s outcomes over a longer period and helped him with the process of gathering and presenting the relevant data.

The MLC stressed the importance of highlighting that two of the patients were high risk, and helped Mr Bradley reflect on this difficult period and identify appropriate CPD that might help him going forward.

Overall, she noted that Mr Bradley’s mortality rate for elective AAA repair was significantly lower than the national average. Though the Trust seemed reluctant to accept the figures, the MLC insisted that the deaths were more likely a statistical blip rather than any issue with Mr Bradley’s competence. The MLC therefore suggested that an independent expert review might assist in moving things forward.

How it ended

The external expert was broadly favourable and the matter was closed with no adverse outcome for Mr Bradley.

Take aways

Mr Bradley’s early contact with Medical Protection ensured that our team were able to advise him, as well as be at his side during the investigation. Being called in front of a disciplinary panel can have a detrimental effect on your confidence as a physician and your mental health, as reported by our recent our recent survey with our members with our members. Medical Protection can support you through a stressful or upsetting case or claim.

The MLC was able to use her expertise and knowledge to suggest an external review when the MHPS investigation appeared to be at an impasse. As a consultant member of Medical Protection, Mr Bradley had access to support and legal know-how that would not be available to him otherwise. 

By Dr Lucy Hanington, Medicolegal Consultant at Medical Protection

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*Names and locations have been changed to protect member confidentiality.


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