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Surgeon guilty of causing death of patient

Dr David Sellu jailed for two-and-a-half years after being convicted of gross negligence manslaughter

James Hughes

The widow of a retired builder who was killed by the negligence of a senior surgeon said he would have received better care if he collapsed in a back alley.

James Hughes (pictured), 66, suffered an unexplained tear to his bowel after a routine knee operation at the privately-run Churchill Clementine Hospital, in Harrow.

Consultant David Sellu, of Croft Close, Hillingdon, ignored concerns that Mr Hughes was in excruciating pain and failed to operate for at least a day.

Mr Hughes suffered blood poisoning as a result of the 'exceptionally bad care' and died of a heart attack on February 14, 2010.

Sellu was convicted of gross negligence manslaughter at the Old Bailey today (Wednesday) after a month-long trial, and jailed for two-and-a-half years.

He was cleared of perjury, having been accused of lying to a coroner about Mr Hughes' care.

After the verdict, prosecutor Bobbie Cheema QC read a statement from Mr Hughes' wife Ann.

Mrs Hughes said: "Jim was much loved and cared for by his family.

"The pathetic reassurances that everything was in hand were categorically wrong and left Jim totally victim to an inhumane environment.

"Jim would have been better cared for if he had collapsed in a back alley."

Mr Hughes, from County Armagh, Northern Ireland, was admitted to the hospital for a simple procedure to replace a knee joint.

Although Sellu knew his patient had a perforated bowel, he failed to operate for 40 hours and did not go to see his patient.

"There was a series of missed opportunities and serious errors of judgment in his care of this patient and they combined to cause Mr Hughes' premature death, and the standard of care was exceptionally bad," said Miss Cheema.

Sellu, 66, was a senior lecturer at Imperial College from 1993 to 2000.


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