Advising with empathy and experience

Concerns over Coventry brain operations.

Two brain operations, where the patients went on to die, have been seriously criticized by surgeons.

During one operation, a consultant neurosurgeon employed by University Hospitals Coventry & Warwickshire NHS Trust, Hussien El-Maghraby, 51, removed a healthy part of a brain instead of a tumour.

In September 2017, he was stopped from performing two different surgical procedures, following a Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) inspection.

Mr El-Maghraby said the General Medical Council (GMC) had examined five of his operations and ruled no further action was needed.

One patient, Stephen Bridgman, from Redditch, Worcestershire, died after Mr El-Maghraby operated on his benign brain tumour in 2016.

The surgery left Mr Bridgman in a vegetative state, as his brain had been irreparably damaged following heavy bleeding.

His widow, Mandy Bridgman, requested her husband's medical notes and found a short video was included showing parts of the surgery.               

Head of neurological surgery at the former Radcliffe Infirmary, Oxford, Chris Adams, who saw the video, told a BBC Inside Out Investigation: "This is very, very rough surgery. I'm appalled by it. I have never seen this sort of tumour removed in this way. It has just been pulled out in one piece. It's completely contrary to how one does neurosurgery."

Two other independent neurosurgeons interviewed by Inside Out also expressed concerns about Mr Bridgman's surgery.

Mr El-Maghraby said the video had covered only 20 minutes of an operation that had lasted three hours.

The hospital trust asked for the video to be looked at by its own independent expert, who noted the tumour was removed "very quickly" but said it had been detached from the skull in "a reasonable manner.”

Four years earlier, a colleague of Mr El-Maghraby, Munchi Choksey, had raised concerns about some spinal procedures and two operations where Mr El Maghraby had removed brain tissue instead of tumour.

Pathology reports show a large healthy chunk of Doreen Dunn's brain was taken out instead of a benign brain tumour. A few days later Mrs Dunn, from Coventry, died.

Mr Choksey, who viewed the scans, said: "It is a colossal error for any neurosurgeon to make."

Mrs Dunn's daughter Cathy said: "You go to these places and trust that the people know what they are doing. They are the experts. So to find that something like that was not done properly is a shock."

Mr El-Maghraby, who says he has performed more than 3,000 operations, said Mrs Dunn's case was one of the five examined by the GMC and made a formal allegation of bullying against Mr Choksey.

In September 2017, the RCS was asked to review four cases, including Mr Bridgman's.

The trust said Mr El-Maghraby should refrain from carrying out two specific surgical procedures pending further training and mentorship.

The two procedures stopped in October 2017 were complex spinal operations and brain surgery while the patient was awake but the review identified no issues with routine brain cancer surgery.