Hospital Dr News

Surgeon David Sellu finally has his name cleared following GMC investigation

Mr David Sellu, the surgeon who was sent to prison in 2013 for gross negligence manslaughter, has had his name cleared

The GMC investigated Sellu after he was released from prison on appeal, but the tribunal concluded none of the allegations are proved and he is free to practise once more.

The case concerned the death of James Hughes at the private Clementine Churchill Hospital in February 2010. Hughes was admitted to hospital under the care of an orthopaedic surgeon, who had performed a successful knee replacement, but Sellu was called in after Hughes developed abdominal pain.

Sellu, now 70, performed an operation 25 hours after he first saw Hughes, but the patient died two days later of multiple organ failure, faecal peritonitis, and perforation of the diverticulum.

At his November 2013 trial Sellu, a respected surgeon of 40 years’ standing, was accused of contributing to Hughes’s death by failing to act quickly enough. The jury convicted him of gross negligence manslaughter by a 10-2 verdict, and he was given a two and a half year prison sentence.

Sellu’s manslaughter conviction was quashed in November in 2016.

Commenting, Dr Rob Hendry, Medical Director at the Medical Protection Society, said: “The MPTS Tribunal’s conclusion that none of the GMC’s allegations against David Sellu are proved will be very welcome news for him and his family. We are pleased to have helped Mr Sellu quash his manslaughter conviction in November 2016, clear his name, and continue his career in medicine. But we know this is also a matter of principle for the wider profession.

“The MPTS Tribunal heard all of the evidence in this case and tested it rigorously. As we have said before, they are best placed to weigh up all of the factors affecting a doctor’s fitness to practise.

“By contrast, a criminal court is rarely the best place to hold a doctor to account for what has happened in a complex clinical environment. There has never been a more important time to debate this issue, and we will be calling on the Government review led by Professor Sir Norman Williams to address it.”

Sellu’s imprisonment shocked doctors, and a campaign was launched to try to get the conviction overturned. By the time the case reached the Court of Appeal he had already served his sentence, half in prison and half on licence.

In November 2016 the appeal court quashed the guilty verdict, ruling that the trial judge’s direction to the jury had been inadequate.

Sellu faced two charges at the MPTS Tribunal, both alleging that he failed to provide good clinical care to Hughes.

This tribunal follows the High Court ruling in the case of Hadiza Bawa-Garba, a trainee paediatrician convicted of gross negligence manslaughter. It concluded that the tribunal considering her case should have struck her off the register rather than suspending her.

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