The son of a Rothwell woman who died in hospital more than a decade ago is to take legal action after it emerged that her surgeon is being investigated over concerns surrounding his treatment.
Andrew Lovell’s mum Anne, a former midwife at Kettering General Hospital, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in August 2003 when she was referred to Professor David Berry at Leicester Royal Infirmary.
She was advised to have surgery and to have part of her pancreas removed.
But she died in October that year after 10 hours in theatre from multiple organ failure and blood poisoning.
It was only this year, after being contacted by the hospital, that her son Andrew found out an independent investigation into Professor Berry’s work had discovered his 66-year-old mother had had her whole pancreas removed.
And he has spoken of his shock after learning that her death could have been prevented.
He said: “I am absolutely devastated and shocked that something like this can even happen.
“It was tough enough losing her in 2003 but this has brought it all back.
“It’s all come out of the blue and to find out that the surgeon took the easy route is disgusting.
“There was a high chance of recovery following the operation and he should have asked for consent before removing the whole pancreas, which he didn’t.
“My mum was midwife for 25 years and there is absolutely no way she would have let him do that given the choice.
“Partially removing the pancreas is more difficult than fully removing it.”
Berry, a liver surgeon, was suspended in January 2013 after an investigation into 10 deaths under his care found that eight were avoidable.
He still retains his licence with restrictions placed upon his work, but negligence lawyers Irwin Mitchell believe he is still working.
Andrew feels Berry should not be allowed to continue in his line of work.
He added: “There is no way this should happen, there are audits and procedures in place.
“If this was picked up in 2003, you have to wonder how many more deaths could have been avoided.
“He shouldn’t be allowed to carry on, he robbed me of the chance to say goodbye to my mum.”
Lawyers at Irwin Mitchell successfully settled a case against Berry where Martyn Rogers from Wales died of blood poisoning and acute liver failure in July 2012.
He was operated on by Professor Berry to remove tumours from his liver at University of Wales.
Three days after his surgery his organs began to shut down and it was discovered that one of his major veins had been damaged.
The law firm will now be seeking to work with University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust to resolve the cases on its clients’ behalf.
Emma Rush, a specialist medical negligence lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, said: “We are deeply concerned to learn that more families of people who have tragically lost their lives are concerned about the treatment they received under Professor Berry.
“We have previously represented families in Wales with similar cases and we learned there were eight avoidable deaths within just 18 months after an investigation carried out by the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) about his time employed by the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board.
“Andrew and other clients now deserve quick and transparent information from the NHS Trust about the treatment their loved ones received.
“They want to know if there were mistakes made during their loved ones care and whether action is being taken to improve patient safety and prevent any further avoidable deaths.
“We will now continue to work with the families to gain the answers they need and deserve so they can begin to come to terms with their loss.”