Surgeon's £4 million compensation claim against hospital

Basildon Recorder: Surgeon's £4 million compensation claim against hospital Surgeon's £4 million compensation claim against hospital

A SURGEON who claims he caught pneumonia while working in dirty operating theatres at Basildon Hospital is claiming up to £4million compensation.

Arjuna Weerasinghe, 50, a consultant cardiothoracic surgeon, claims conditions at Basildon Hospital were so bad one of his patients died because of a lack of equipment.

He also alleges medical instruments were dirty and there was a shortage of surgical masks.

He told an east London employment tribunal he contracted antibiotic resistant pneumonia while working in operating theatres at the hospital’s renowned Cardiothoracic Centre, which he said hadn’t been deep cleaned for years.

Mr Weerasinghe claims he was sacked for blowing the whistle after repeatedly raising concerns about poor standards at the hospital, which is currently in special measures.

However, the hospital trust says Mr Weerasinghe was dismissed last November after bosses said he had “misled” them over his illness.

Mr Weerasinghe said: “Instruments were not always available, often had their sterility impaired and inordinate delays were routine when instruments or equipment were required during the operation.

“This initial impression soon turned to serious concern when I realised there were repeated health care failings that affected patients’ well-being.

“I believe my public interest disclosures regarding the unavailability of appropriate equipment and material in this case were a major influence in the decision to investigate and then dismiss me.”

Mr Weerasinghe said one of his patients, known only as RT, died in August 2011 because the hospital’s operating theatre was not properly stocked with equipment. During RT’s surgery the forceps being used in the patient’s chest allegedly broke. Later, when the same patient suffered a bleed, the surgeon asked for an absorption aid, only to be told there wasn’t one available.

RT later died while Mr Weerasinghe was on holiday.

The surgeon said he felt the patient would not have died if the correct equipment was on hand.

Mr Weerasinghe said since joining the trust in 2008, he had raised several concerns about standards at the centre, including instances of power cuts and theatre time being wasted.

He said there were “repeated health care failings on a regular basis” and senior nursing staff were too “frightened” to raise their worries.

The surgeon said he felt his concerns about poor care at the hospital were “ruffling the feathers” of its management.

He claims he was told formal letters expressing his concerns were not likely to be a “good way forward”.

He went off sick after contracting pneumonia in December 2011, the tribunal was told.

Mr Weerasinghe alleged the operating theatre he spent three days working in had not been regularly cleaned for more than three years.

He said he informed the hospital 11 times he felt he had picked up the infection at work because it was a drug-resistant bacteria – the type that evolves in hospitals.

Mr Weerasinghe claims trust bosses used his illness as an excuse to get rid of him because he was whistle- blowing.

He was dismissed for gross misconduct last November after the trust found he had misled them over his illness and refused to meet and discuss his condition.

Mr Weerasinghe, of Canary Wharf, East London, is now suing the trust for unfair dismissal, disability discrimination and whistle blowing.

Basildon Hospital declined to comment until the hearing concludes.

The tribunal continues.

Comments (9)

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5:49pm Mon 21 Oct 13

Clifford Close says...

tell him to bog off
tell him to bog off Clifford Close

6:28pm Mon 21 Oct 13

chorkyboy says...

It would be interesting to hear details of exactly how he misled the trust over his illness and why he refused to meet them to discuss his condition. It scarcely sounds like gross misconduct. His whistle-blowing, on the other hand, would have had the trust looking for any pretext for sacking him and he is likely to have been well aware of this. We shall have to wait and see.
It would be interesting to hear details of exactly how he misled the trust over his illness and why he refused to meet them to discuss his condition. It scarcely sounds like gross misconduct. His whistle-blowing, on the other hand, would have had the trust looking for any pretext for sacking him and he is likely to have been well aware of this. We shall have to wait and see. chorkyboy

7:10pm Mon 21 Oct 13

GrumpyofLeigh says...

Saving the race card until later?
Saving the race card until later? GrumpyofLeigh

7:21pm Mon 21 Oct 13

Rochford Rob says...

chorkyboy wrote:
It would be interesting to hear details of exactly how he misled the trust over his illness and why he refused to meet them to discuss his condition. It scarcely sounds like gross misconduct. His whistle-blowing, on the other hand, would have had the trust looking for any pretext for sacking him and he is likely to have been well aware of this. We shall have to wait and see.
Indeed. He said he had pneumonia - he either did or didn't.

I'm inclined to believe him as most hospitals are filthy killing zones.

The NHS killing 30,000 + year on year.
[quote][p][bold]chorkyboy[/bold] wrote: It would be interesting to hear details of exactly how he misled the trust over his illness and why he refused to meet them to discuss his condition. It scarcely sounds like gross misconduct. His whistle-blowing, on the other hand, would have had the trust looking for any pretext for sacking him and he is likely to have been well aware of this. We shall have to wait and see.[/p][/quote]Indeed. He said he had pneumonia - he either did or didn't. I'm inclined to believe him as most hospitals are filthy killing zones. The NHS killing 30,000 + year on year. Rochford Rob

7:45pm Mon 21 Oct 13

Barry Bas says...

He said that the operating theartre was not properly stocked but I would have thought, as the surgeon, he would have gave it all the once over to check everything he might need was there. If he wasn't happy with the equipment then he shouldn't have started the operation.
He said that the operating theartre was not properly stocked but I would have thought, as the surgeon, he would have gave it all the once over to check everything he might need was there. If he wasn't happy with the equipment then he shouldn't have started the operation. Barry Bas

9:44pm Mon 21 Oct 13

hoppie says...

Talk about kicking somebody when they are down
Talk about kicking somebody when they are down hoppie

7:33am Tue 22 Oct 13

Baker-Boy says...

To be honstest I believe this to be a total joke. He a surgeon right he was the one in control of the room. Any concern he had would have been dealt with before an operation. If he thought the room was not clean demand it is clear first. Count out the instrument u might need if they are not there demand them. Surely he could be the one in trouble for willing operating when he could have done something. I go to work today and tell my boss the report that should have gone out last week didn't and I knew about wonder who in trouble hmmm.
To be honstest I believe this to be a total joke. He a surgeon right he was the one in control of the room. Any concern he had would have been dealt with before an operation. If he thought the room was not clean demand it is clear first. Count out the instrument u might need if they are not there demand them. Surely he could be the one in trouble for willing operating when he could have done something. I go to work today and tell my boss the report that should have gone out last week didn't and I knew about wonder who in trouble hmmm. Baker-Boy

10:54am Tue 22 Oct 13

Let Me Educate You All says...

Rochford Rob wrote:
chorkyboy wrote:
It would be interesting to hear details of exactly how he misled the trust over his illness and why he refused to meet them to discuss his condition. It scarcely sounds like gross misconduct. His whistle-blowing, on the other hand, would have had the trust looking for any pretext for sacking him and he is likely to have been well aware of this. We shall have to wait and see.
Indeed. He said he had pneumonia - he either did or didn't.

I'm inclined to believe him as most hospitals are filthy killing zones.

The NHS killing 30,000 + year on year.
YET SAVING OVER 100,000 A YEAR
[quote][p][bold]Rochford Rob[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]chorkyboy[/bold] wrote: It would be interesting to hear details of exactly how he misled the trust over his illness and why he refused to meet them to discuss his condition. It scarcely sounds like gross misconduct. His whistle-blowing, on the other hand, would have had the trust looking for any pretext for sacking him and he is likely to have been well aware of this. We shall have to wait and see.[/p][/quote]Indeed. He said he had pneumonia - he either did or didn't. I'm inclined to believe him as most hospitals are filthy killing zones. The NHS killing 30,000 + year on year.[/p][/quote]YET SAVING OVER 100,000 A YEAR Let Me Educate You All

4:28pm Tue 22 Oct 13

Rochford Rob says...

Let Me Educate You All wrote:
Rochford Rob wrote:
chorkyboy wrote:
It would be interesting to hear details of exactly how he misled the trust over his illness and why he refused to meet them to discuss his condition. It scarcely sounds like gross misconduct. His whistle-blowing, on the other hand, would have had the trust looking for any pretext for sacking him and he is likely to have been well aware of this. We shall have to wait and see.
Indeed. He said he had pneumonia - he either did or didn't.

I'm inclined to believe him as most hospitals are filthy killing zones.

The NHS killing 30,000 + year on year.
YET SAVING OVER 100,000 A YEAR
Not very good odds though eh?
[quote][p][bold]Let Me Educate You All[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Rochford Rob[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]chorkyboy[/bold] wrote: It would be interesting to hear details of exactly how he misled the trust over his illness and why he refused to meet them to discuss his condition. It scarcely sounds like gross misconduct. His whistle-blowing, on the other hand, would have had the trust looking for any pretext for sacking him and he is likely to have been well aware of this. We shall have to wait and see.[/p][/quote]Indeed. He said he had pneumonia - he either did or didn't. I'm inclined to believe him as most hospitals are filthy killing zones. The NHS killing 30,000 + year on year.[/p][/quote]YET SAVING OVER 100,000 A YEAR[/p][/quote]Not very good odds though eh? Rochford Rob

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