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British woman dead after German doctor botches operation

The Local · 17 Mar 2010, 14:30

Published: 17 Mar 2010 14:30 GMT+01:00

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An inquest in Britain heard that Ena Dickinson, 94, died two months after surgeon Werner Kolb performed the operation in August 2008. During the procedure Kolb reportedly removed a bone he was not supposed to and severed a major artery, leaving her unable to walk.

Dickinson would have died immediately had a consultant not stepped in and taken over, according to statements made at the inquest. She was left bed bound and developed pneumonia, which killed her two months later.

The British health authorities who hired Kolb as a locum have apologised to the woman’s family and changed the way they recruit staff.

Kolb was hired for six weeks to cover holiday leave at the Grantham & District Hospital in Lincolnshire. The incident happened three weeks into his stint and he was fired the next day.

An expert witness, Professor Angus Wallace, told the inquest that 70 percent of elderly hip replacement patients survive for more than a year, which suggested Kolb’s error likely caused Dickinson’s death.

The 51-year-old, who is based at Bethesda Hospital in Stuttgart, told The Daily Mail newspaper: “I consider myself in no way guilty or responsible for the death of this woman. I can clearly recall that after the procedure she was in a good condition.

“She was old and there would always be a risk for a patient of her age but I repeat, the procedure was carried out properly and I say my work had nothing to do with her death.”

Story continues below…

The case follows another incident with a German locum in Britain who accidentally killed a 70-year-old man by giving him 10 times the maximum dose of morphine in February 2008. That doctor, Daniel Ubani, was convicted in Germany and given a suspended jail sentence.

The incident sparked demands in Britain for a review of European Union laws that allow doctors to work across European borders without having to pass language and competency tests.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

15:37 March 17, 2010 by dbert4
Sad story. Most 94 year olds would not be concidered for an elective surgery
18:53 March 17, 2010 by michael4096
It is a great shame that the british media are highlighting the 'foreign', in these two cases german, doctor aspect. This has more to do with the upcoming elections and the state of the national health service than german doctor bashing - but, it doesn't always come over that way.
10:32 March 18, 2010 by Gaffers
I'd be happy for a German doctor to treat my mother at the moment. The British ones in the NHS don't know their arse from their elbow. The level of care she is receiving is just shocking. I'm reasonably certain the "failure" rate is higher with British doctors than with German ones but that doesn't make as good reading...
17:00 March 20, 2010 by jasminf

"It is a great shame that the british media are highlighting the 'foreign', in these two cases german, doctor aspect."

No, it is absolutely pertinent. Particularly in the ubani case, where a doctor with false references, no evidence of ever having worked as a GP, contradictory qualification dates, and has no idea of how to work as a proper doctor lied on his CV in order to go to england. Of course he killed immediately and was let off by the german authorities and is still allowed to put the public at grave and immediate risk by the german authorities.
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