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UK surgeon ‘repeatedly punched a patient in the face’ to fix a fracture, court hears

UK surgeon ‘repeatedly punched a patient in the face’ to fix a fracture, court hears
A British surgeon has been accused of “repeatedly” punching a patient in the face in an attempt to fix a fracture, a medical tribunal has heard.

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Professor Ninian Peckitt, 63, was working as a locum consultant in oral and maxilla-facial surgery at Ipswich hospital in 2012 when he treated a patient who had suffered a fracture in an accident.

According to witnesses, Peckitt “repeatedly” hit the patient during treatment.

The General Medical Council (GMC) says the case against the surgeon is not about the outcome of his approach but the method he allegedly used.

Christopher Hamlet, representing the GMC, told the hearing the case was “not centered around the performance or the outcome.”

It is based on the “method of surgery… by way of the extraordinary allegation from witnesses that he repeatedly punched the patient in the face.”

The patient “fell out of bed, which displaced facial fractures” and Peckitt used a “secondary procedure” to address this, Hamlet said.

He described the procedure as one in which the patient’s face was “digitally manipulated as best [as] could be achieved.”

There is an acceptance this was not open surgery, but an effort to reduce the fracture by the use of [a] hand,” Hamlet added.

It is “plainly not an acceptance of a punch or repeated punches as GMC witnesses will say,” he said.

Ipswich Hospital (Image from Wikidepia by geograph.org.uk/Richard Rogerson)

Referring to a report by Dr. Timothy Mellor, an expert for the GMC, Hamlet said: “He confirmed in relation to Patient A that it is entirely inappropriate to try to reduce a fracture with external force alone.”

Peckitt allegedly treated the patient without seeking advice or assistance from his colleagues.

He allegedly pursued the “close reduction” procedure, punching the patient to reduce a fracture without considering the option of surgery.

Peckitt also allegedly “failed to check the medical records” of another patient, which led to him attempting “an unnecessary procedure.

On March 29, 2012, Peckitt also allegedly left the clinic before his shift was over, without giving an apology or explanation to his patients or colleagues.

The surgeon “empathically denies” all claims made by the witnesses, and said in an email, he is being “driven into the case due to being a whistleblower.”

The surgeon risks being struck off the medical register if he is found guilty of the “extraordinary” claims at the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service hearing in Manchester.

Peckitt left his job at the hospital within two days of the incident, and is now working in Dubai.