Surgeon reprieved

A TOP surgeon suspended over his treatment of an elderly patient had that blot removed from his career by a High Court judge, who lamented the sorry story behind the tragedy.   Timothy Ross Cheatle, who accepted his conduct was not up to the mark in s

A TOP surgeon suspended over his treatment of an elderly patient had that blot removed from his career by a High Court judge, who lamented the 'sorry story' behind the tragedy.

Timothy Ross Cheatle, who accepted his conduct was not 'up to the mark' in some aspects of Mildred Swain's care, was suspended for 10 months in May 2007 after a finding his 'fitness to practice' was impaired.

Mr Cheatle, of Cardigan Road, Bow, faced disciplinary proceedings over his treatment of Mrs Swain, 77, who died in April 2002 at Romford's Oldchurch Hospital after complications set in following surgery to resolve a blocked artery in her thigh.

Her condition deteriorated when a wound became infected after surgery on April 1 2002.


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Mrs Swain, a great-grandmother from Dagenham, died on April 27 2002 during surgery to tackle the infection.

Mr Justice Cranston, who today upheld Mr Cheatle's challenge to the suspension decision, said the General Medical Council was entitled to pinpoint certain failings by the medic, noting that "the key failure was Mr Cheatle not appreciating the gravity of Mrs Swain's condition".

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From the time of the inquest into the death in January 2003, Mr Cheadle had "accepted that there were failures in the care afforded Mrs Swain", said the judge and before the GMC panel, "he accepted, frankly, that he had been at fault after her readmission."

However, Mr Cheatle's failings did not justify the GMC's finding that his fitness to practice was impaired, ruled the judge, particularly given his unblemished career in surgery.

"It does seem to be a sorry story," the judge added.

"There was significant understaffing at consultant surgeon level."

Overall, the GMC's conclusions in relation to Mr Cheatle's fitness to practise were 'flawed', said the judge, upholding the surgeon's appeal.

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