'I felt like I was dying': Patient's anger after doctor 'removed womb without proper consent'

·3-min read
Nottingham Treatment Centre and the Queen's Medical Centre in Nottingham. (Reach)

A doctor has been accused of failing to obtain proper consent from a patient before removing their womb.

Martin Powell, a consultant gynaecologist, is also accused of failing to provide good clinical care and aftercare to a patient, as well as visiting the patient and accessing their medical records inappropriately.

Patient A, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had a laparoscopic subtotal hysterectomy, a procedure to remove the womb, on 5 December, 2016, at the Nottingham NHS Treatment Centre when it was run by private healthcare group Circle Health.

It is alleged that consent on the risks, benefits, complications and discussion of potential further surgery was not obtained on 30 September, 2016. 

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Patient A gave evidence at a misconduct hearing that opened on Monday.

They said: “I got out of bed once when the nurse needed to change the sheets because I had been sick, and when changing the sheets, I nearly passed out because of the pain – she helped me back into bed and I still had a catheter fitted.

“I also got out once to go to the toilet after the catheter had been removed, which is when blood flowed out of my rectum.

“I felt like I was dying at one point, and I said that to a nurse, who said they knew I was feeling really unwell, but cannot do anything about it because the treatment is under Mr Powell.

"It's not routine for any surgeon or consultant to give their number and exercise that right to say 'I don't feel well’.”

The Treatment Centre is now run by Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the Queen's Medical Centre (QMC) and City Hospital.

Patient A was later transferred to the QMC, and was looked after on a high-dependency unit (HDU) and had surgery that they believe lasted eight hours.

Patient A said: "I woke up to someone holding my wrist – it was really soft and at first I thought it was my husband but it was Mr Powell.

"He asked me if I was okay and then asked what 'they' were saying about him, asking what was in my notes, and asked me if I was going to seek legal advice.

"At that point I laughed and said I'm just concentrating on getting better, and this is all making me uncomfortable."

Patient A claims Mr Powell tried to see them again, and that they asked a nurse to not let him see them, as they were feeling “scared”.

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After being treated on the high-dependency unit, Patient A was then transferred to a colorectal ward, where Mr Powell visited them on 21 December, 2016.

Patient A claimed Mr Powell said “I’m not leaving until I’ve said what I want to say” after a ward manager told him to go, saying they were not feeling well.

During the misconduct hearing, Patient A was questioned by Scott Ivill, counsel for Mr Powell.

Mr Ivill asked if medication affected Patient A's recall, to which they responded: “It may have affected recall on dates, as days tend to run together on HDU and wards, but it has not affected my recall of the events that happened or what was said.”

Legal proceedings are still ongoing to determine if Mr Powell is fit for practice and the hearing is set to conclude on 5 November.

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