Dr Marwan Farouk was supposed to remove a cyst close to the testicle at the BMI Chiltern Hospital in Buckinghamshire, but the tribunal heard that after removing the right testicle instead, Dr Farouk instructed his nurse to throw the testicle in the waste bin and misled his patient, saying that “he had a small right testicle, but it won’t give you any problems”.
Dr Farouk told the tribunal that he did not realise he had removed a testicle, which is why there was no record of it in the notes, but the ruling (which Dr Farouk has 28 days to consider appealing) said that as an experienced surgeon, he “must have recognised the specimen for what it was … this was a series of deliberate acts designed by you to cover up the fact you had made an error”.
Surgical errors do happen from time to time, even those that you might think could be impossible. It is regularly reported in the press that “never events”, where patients suffer injury as a result of error that just cannot be excused, such as amputation of the wrong leg for example, are on the increase. Whilst patients suffering these injuries may be entitled to compensation, if such errors are acknowledged and procedures put in place to avoid recurrence, doctors very rarely lose the right to practise. Everyone can make mistakes and it was not Dr Farouk’s error that has got him into hot water, it is his decision not tell his patient and attempt to cover up the error that has brought his suitability to practise to the attention of the MPTS.