Doctor gets jails for manslaughter by gross negligence

By Gillian Crotty

Surgeon David Sellu has been given a 28 month prison sentence for the manslaughter of a patient as a result of gross negligence.

Patient James Hughes, aged 66 from County Armagh in Northern Ireland, died under the care of Dr Sellu at Clementine Churchill Hospital in Harrow. He was transferred to Mr Sellu after suffering a perforated bowel during a routine knee replacement on 5th February 2010.

The court heard how Mr Sellu "simply ignored" the urgency of Mr Hughes condition and carried on with his scheduled appointments. Despite suspecting a rupture Mr Sellu did not operate immediately, and instead scheduled a CT scan for the next day. The scan confirmed there was a rupture but Dr Sellu again did not operate immediately, instead carrying on with his own clinic. After 40 hours of being in pain Mr Hughes was operated on on 12th February, but his condition had deteriorated significantly. The patient died on 14th February.

The prosecuting solicitor Elizabeth Joslin said the care given was "far below the expected standard", and said Mr Hughes death was not a result of mistakes or errors of judgment by Dr Sellu, "but negligence so serious that he has now been convicted of a criminal offence".

If you have suffered injury or loss as a result of medical care or treatment received in Northern Ireland, contact one of the clinical negligence solicitors at Wilson Nesbitt in Belfast for information on a possible claim for compensation by calling 0800 840 9289.