A Blackpool surgeon has been suspended for his failure to look at scan results before removing part of a cancer patient’s breast.
Sadagopan Varadarajan, who has practised in the UK since 1983, was banned for eight months by the Medical Practitioners Tribunal for serious misconduct after failing to review the results of an MRI scan before removing part of the breast of a cancer patient at Blackpool’s Victoria Hospital in 2014.
Failings in patient care
Mr Varadarajan’s failure meant that he could not have known the extent of the cancer in the breast and risked missing cancer elsewhere. Subsequently, the patient who suffered with high anxiety, might have required further surgery.
The surgeon also failed in his care to the patient by failing to advise them of the full range of treatment options available, including failing to discuss the option of having a mastectomy, meaning that adequate and appropriate consent could not be provided by the patient.
In addition, an accurate record was not kept of the patient’s high anxiety levels and Mr Varadarajan failed to communicate properly with his colleagues.
Upon his failings being uncovered, Mr Varadarajan attempted to deceive both the patient and the tribunal by claiming that an MRI written report was unavailable before his patient’s listed surgery and, as she was already anaesthetised, it would be too late to put a stop to the surgery. However, medical notes show that he examined her before she was anaesthetised.
He also attempted to influence a colleague by suggesting they had given him a verbal report of the MRI scan. However, the tribunal satisfied itself that this conversation was fabricated by Mr Varadarajan in order to mislead.
Although the full extent of the cancer was successfully removed and the patient was not harmed, the misconduct tribunal described Mr Varadarajan as “evasive” and stated that his conduct “fell far below the standard expected of a reasonably competent consultant breast surgeon” before suspending him from working in health care for eight months.
Ally Taft, partner at Medical Accident Group, said: “It is a worrying prospect that a surgeon with over 30 years’ experience could act with such little regard to a patient’s health. It is only through good fortune that the extent of the breast cancer was removed and the patient was left, broadly speaking, unharmed.”
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