False limbs specialist who gave patient two left feet is struck off

A LIMB specialist who fitted an artificial left foot to an amputee's right leg has been banned from treating patients.

Prosthetist Malcolm Griffiths gave West Lothian grandfather Patrick Morrison, 76, two left feet and failed to spot the blunder during two further check-ups.

A disciplinary hearing of the Health Professions Council yesterday was told Mr Griffiths admitted 16 charges against him, including the allegations connected with Mr Morrison's care.

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The regulatory body's conduct and competence committee, sitting in Edinburgh, agreed to Mr Griffiths' own request to have his name removed from the professional register.

The charges related to the treatment of 11 patients over a three-year period during Mr Griffiths' time at Edinburgh's Astley Ainslie Hospital.

After the hearing, Mr Morrison, a retired joiner from Bathgate, demanded an apology.

The prosthetic foot he was given was also a size nine rather than the correct size eight.

"All I want is someone to say sorry," he said.

"I never even knew that action had been taken against Malcolm until I read about it in the paper. I'm not looking for compensation, all I want is someone to get in touch and apologise. It's not much to ask."

The grandfather had his big toe amputated in 2007. Soon afterwards the wound became infected with MRSA and he lost his right foot.

At first he did not notice that Mr Griffiths had given him the wrong foot and the mistake only came to light when his wife Alexia removed a protective sock.

He said: "We both got a big surprise. You just don't expect this kind of thing to happen. In my case I didn't suffer that much, but it could have caused major problems for someone else."

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Mr Griffiths, who was not present at the hearing, was sacked by NHS Lothian in 2008.

The charges related to Mr Griffiths' employment at the Smart centre, a mobility and rehabilitation clinic based at Astley Ainslie Hospital, between August 2005 and August 2008.

One of the most serious charges admitted was an allegation that he fitted Mr Morrison, known as "patient A", with an artificial left foot when he should have been given a replacement right foot.

He also admitted a complaint that he caused "unnecessary delay and pain" to another patient by failing to complete work "within a reasonable time frame".

He admitted 14 other charges, including failing to maintain adequate patient notes, missing deadlines and persistently losing work while under "competency supervision" before losing his job.

Committee chairman Colin Allies told the hearing: "The making of the consent order affords proper protection of the public."

Alan Boyter, director of Human Resources and Organisational Development at NHS Lothian, said: "When Mr Griffiths' skills and competency were found to be short of what we expect, we immediately put in place a range of additional training and supervisory support."

The British Association of Prosthetists and Orthotists called for ongoing training opportunities for prosthetists, following the case.

Steve Mottram, chairman, said: "This type of error should not happen."

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