DHB doctor ordered to apologise after patient death

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A Nelson Marlborough District Health Board surgeon who botched an operation has been ordered to apologise to the patients family.

The 80 year old patient died after an elective open gallbladder removal operation in 2012.

The surgeon has been blamed for making errors during the operation and not recommending a less risky treatment,

The Health and Disability Commissioner Anthony Hill criticised the doctor for a slow reaction to the condition the patient was in and causing more damage during a re-operation procedure when it was noticed that the man was suffering from internal bleeding.

The commissioner said the surgeon had stopped performing keyhole surgery a year earlier in 2011 and failed to offer it as an alternative, less serious option.

Mr Hill says there was a lack of critical thinking by staff as they waited for the surgeon’s decision to re-operate on the man.

“The team performance was sub-optimal. Every member of the clinical team had a responsibility to recognise the risk that [the man’s] prolonged low blood pressure presented to him.”

Several procedures have been changed in order to prevent similar occurrences in the future.

The doctor has been ordered to write an apology to the patients family in the next three weeks.