Widow Calls for NHS Reforms After Professor’s Death from Botched Procedure Deemed Avoidable

Widow Calls for NHS Reforms After Professor’s Death from Botched Procedure Deemed Avoidable

The widow of Professor Amit Patel, a distinguished medical professional, has called for significant improvements in the training of doctors within the NHS.

This follows a coroner’s ruling that Professor Patel’s death was avoidable and resulted from failures in his care during a routine medical procedure.

Dr. Shivani Tanna, herself a general practitioner, emphasized the need for systemic changes to prevent such tragedies in the future.

Background of Professor Amit Patel

Professor Amit Patel, 43, was a pioneering figure in the field of stem cell transplantation and recognized as one of the brightest doctors of his generation.

Tragically, he died following a procedure meant to diagnose Still’s disease, a condition he was nationally renowned for treating.

Professor Patel was admitted to Wythenshawe Hospital in Manchester in August 2021, where he and his medical team initially diagnosed him with Still’s disease, an inflammatory illness that had triggered a potentially deadly immune reaction known as hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH).

The Procedure and Fatal Outcome

During his hospital stay, Professor Patel developed disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC), a severe blood clotting disorder that can cause uncontrollable bleeding.

This critical detail was not communicated to the advisory panel that recommended an endobronchial ultrasound-guided biopsy (EBUS) to examine his lungs.

The biopsy, considered a low-risk procedure, led to catastrophic internal bleeding. Despite being an expert in the condition, Professor Patel did not survive the massive blood loss and died on October 28, 2021.

Coroner’s Findings

Last week, Coroner Zak Golombek ruled that Professor Patel’s death was avoidable and resulted from individual failures rather than systemic issues.

The coroner criticized the hospital’s failure to provide the advisory panel with all relevant clinical information, which led to the biopsy being performed under incomplete circumstances.

If the panel had been fully informed, the procedure would not have been recommended, and Professor Patel might have survived.

Dr. Shivani Tanna’s Call for Change

Following the coroner’s findings, Dr. Shivani Tanna expressed her determination to push for significant reforms within the NHS.

She highlighted the irony that her husband, a leading expert in HLH, succumbed to complications from the very condition he specialized in. Dr. Tanna emphasized the need for better education and training for medical professionals, particularly regarding rare and complex conditions like HLH.

“I only knew so much about HLH because of Amit,” Dr. Tanna said. “People say it’s rare, but I don’t think it is that rare.

Amit’s evolving picture of HLH might never have been picked up if he were not who he was. This case must be the impetus for huge change in the NHS.”

Coroner’s Criticism and Recommendations

Coroner Golombek also criticized the hospital’s consent procedures, noting that Professor Patel was treated more as a colleague than a patient.

He praised Professor Patel’s legacy, stating, “He was clearly a brilliant man whose legacy will go beyond his academic and professional achievements.”

The Fight for Transparency and Safety

Dr. Tanna vowed to continue her fight for openness and patient safety within the NHS. “I know what happened because I was there every day with Amit during his hospital admission,” she said.

“The coroner found failures to provide basic medical attention to a person in a dependent position. That is enough for me. From the outset, I just wanted the truth to be found. I owe that to Amit.”

Looking Forward

Despite the tragedy, Dr. Tanna is focused on her daughters and carrying forward Professor Patel’s legacy. She remains committed to working within the NHS to advocate for necessary changes.

“I’m not giving up—I will continue to do what I need to do to stand my ground and speak up. I hope Amit’s case becomes the impetus for huge change in the NHS.”

Official Response from the NHS

Jane Eddleston, joint group chief medical officer for Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, which operates Wythenshawe Hospital, extended condolences to Professor Patel’s family.

“The trust has undertaken a detailed investigation thoroughly examining the care Professor Patel received and has shared this investigation with his family and the coroner,” she said. “We are committed to applying the lessons learned to improve patient safety, quality of care, and experience.”

Conclusion

The tragic death of Professor Amit Patel has spotlighted significant gaps in medical training and patient care within the NHS. Dr. Shivani Tanna’s call for reform is a poignant reminder of the need for continual improvement in healthcare standards to prevent such avoidable losses in the future.