Family of mother who died following Whittington Hospital weight loss operation call for probe
06:45 27 August 2013
The family of a mother who died after weight-loss surgery are calling for her case to be included in a probe into another woman’s death after a similar operation at Whittington Hospital.
Earlier this month the Gazette reported how surgeon Dugal Heath has been temporarily banned from performing gastric bypasses and bands after 39-year-old mother-of-three, Jane White, died in September last year.
A General Medical Council (GMC) investigation – while setting up an Interim Orders Panel – has been launched following an inquest in June this year which heard she died of “multiple organ dysfunction due to complications” after weight-loss surgery.
Now, the parents of Kim Blake, who also received weight-loss surgery from Dr Heath before dying nine months later, also from complications, want their daughter’s case to be included.
There was no suggestion from inquests into either woman’s death that Dr Heath was negligent.
Ms Blake’s parents, however, say they want to get to the bottom of “unanswered” questions.
Her father, James, of Kentish Town, this week revealed how he and wife Janet were left to look after their seven-year-old granddaughter following Ms Blake’s death.
He said: “She was operated on twice at Whittington Hospital and then twice at University College London Hospital and we still feel we don’t know what may have happened. We still feel there are unanswered questions.
“There’s not a day goes by that we don’t think about her and miss her. She was the most loving mum to her daughter and most caring and loving daughter to us.”
Dr Heath carried out the initial operation in January 2010, but Ms Blake could not keep food down afterwards.
A second operation at the Whittington then took place to correct the problem, but failed to work.
A third operation performed, after her care was transferred to University College Hospital in Bloomsbury also failed to find any obstruction – but Ms Blake continued to deteriorate and died in December 2010, before an operation to reverse the procedure could be carried out.
It is understood the GMC investigation into Jane White’s death will revisit previous patients’ experiences, with Ms Blake’s parents calling for her case to be revisited as part of the probe.
Dr Heath has six conditions against him, including not performing weight-loss surgery while the GMC investigation is carried out.
A spokesman for Whittington Health NHS Trust said: “We can confirm that a consultant general and bariatric surgeon has been excluded from the Trust while investigations are carried out into his practice.
“The Trust takes patients’ safety extremely seriously and took action following concerns about his practice.”