A DOCTOR who performed botched surgery on a cancer patient who later lost her breast has been suspended for a year.
A Medical Practitioners’ tribunal ruled that Dr Mutasim Abdul Settar Mohammed, who trained in Iraq, was not competent to perform the operation on the woman at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary in December 2009.
The tribunal heard that, despite taking out twice as much tissue as he should, Dr Mohammed failed to remove the cancerous growth.
The patient then had to go through a second operation with another surgeon to have the tumour removed.
Dr Mohammed also told the woman she had cancer in a “brusque” and inconsiderate way during a consultation a week before the first surgery, the tribunal in Manchester heard.
The tribunal panel found ten charges against the doctor proven, including a charge that he removed an “unnecessarily large” amount of tissue from the woman’s left breast.
The panel said the case involved “serious failings in both patient care and communication with patients”. It said suspension was appropriate because of “his failure to acknowledge his serious errors and his lack of willingness to acknowledge his failings or plan his remediation”.
Dr Mohammed’s patient, who still had cancer after the first botched operation, went on to lose her breast and is still undergoing reconstructive surgery.
The panel heard expert evidence saying the tumour did not have to be removed by surgery at all, and it could have been treated by radiotherapy.
Dr Mohammed, who specialised in colorectal surgery but was employed at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary as a general surgeon, was not present or represented at the hearing.
Dr Mohammed first saw the woman, named only as KB, on 18 December, 2009, when she attended a consultation with a man named as Mr B. The tribunal panel said: “Both described Dr Mohammed as brusque, uncaring and possibly rude.
“They stated that upon arriving for the consultation, they were shown into Dr Mohammed’s consulting room. When he arrived, Dr Mohammed immediately told Patient KB that she had cancer and needed an operation, which had been arranged for the following week.”
This was the first time the woman knew she had cancer, and a Macmillan cancer nurse made an “immediate intervention”, they said.
The consultation lasted as little as three minutes, the hearing was told.
Dr Mohammed carried out the breast surgery on 22 December, 2009, even though he was not competent to carry out that kind of surgery unsupervised.
The panel “accepted the evidence that Patient KB was unaware that Dr Mohammed was not a breast surgeon”.
He failed to remove the tumour, even though it was found to be “palpable” by her GP, and only removed two lymph nodes, whereas another surgeon had to remove a further 14 at a later operation. The panel also heard evidence that the amount of tissue removed by Dr Mohammed “was approximately twice the amount it should have been”.
He also “unnecessarily removed skin from Patient KB’s chest,” the panel found.
The woman was referred to a breast surgery expert, Professor Steven Heys, after the unsuccessful surgery.
Prof Heys told the panel in a letter: “There has been a large area of breast tissue removed and the breast was sunk in and was quite deformed.”
Dr Mohammed broke the news of the unsuccessful surgery to the woman in a consultation that was again only three or four minutes long, the panel heard.
Dr Mohammed qualified from the University of Mosul in 1978. In February, 2011, he was given a warning by the General Medical Council for breaking guidelines by giving patient names to the locum agency he was working for.
NHS Grampian said: “Dr Mutasim Mohammed worked …with NHS Grampian and was employed through an agency to provide cover. He no longer works for the organisation.”