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A British surgeon is under investigation for alleged “unacceptable and unjustifiable” actions that led to the death of a teenage patient in 2007. Dr. John Bradly Williamson, 65, is facing a probe by the National Health Service (NHS) for directly contributing to the death of 17-year-old Catherine O’ Connor. The teenage girl died on the operating table at Salford Royal Hospital in Manchester as a result of massive blood loss.

The Times reported that Williamson failed to make provisions to have ample blood supply during surgery and that he had not included a second surgeon consultant for O’Connor’s spinal surgery. Report transcripts stated that Williamson defended himself by saying that he has always strived to provide his patients with the best possible care but could not comment on O’Connor’s case as he was bound by patient confidentiality. O’Connor was a wheelchair-bound patient born with spina bifida.

According to the Spinal Patient Safety Look Back Review, Williamson had not worked at the Trust since 2015 as they assured that only a few patients who have undergone spinal surgery with Williamson will be affected by the review.

However, based on the NHS commissioned report, the surgeon has been described by a colleague as “clinically incompetent” and is consistently accused of being a “dictatorial bully”. With 30 surgeons under him in his department, Williamson was said to run a toxic team under his wing. He reportedly worked with an air of “absolute power” brought on by an alleged relationship he had with the department’s head of nursing. Northern Care Alliance said they will get hold of patients that were previously treated by Williamson to look into their current conditions.

“Patients should be assured that they will be contacted by our organization if any concerns are identified about their care or treatment.”

They said the review may ask concerned patients to come in for a consultation to discuss their medical history, previous surgeries, their recovery progress as well as their current health condition. This information may help them determine if further steps are required for their treatment.

Williamson, who joined Salford Royal Hospital and Manchester Children’s Hospital in 1996, was suspended in 2014 and fired in 2015 for inappropriate behavior toward a female staff member. Since then, he remains a registered and licensed medical practitioner and continues to see patients privately for consults but no longer performs surgery. He has not undergone any sort of investigation since.

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