A surgeon “sacrificed” the care of an NHS transplant patient so he could treat two foreign brothers at a private Bupa hospital first, an employment tribunal was told yesterday.
Profesor Nadey Hakim, 57, who is claiming unfair dismissal after being sacked from his post at Hammersmith hospital, was said to have “significantly increased” the risk to the 41-year-old woman by leaving her replacement pancreas untransplanted for 25 hours – one of the longest times ever recorded.
The woman, known only as “FB“, who was undergoing a kidney and pancreas transplant in October 2013, spent three months in hospital recovering from the operation – the average is around two weeks, the central London tribunal was told.
Professor Hakim, from Cricklewood, was dismissed by Imperial in February  for gross misconduct. After carrying out a live kidney transplant between two foreign brothers at the Cromwell hospital, in South Kensington, he arrived at Hammersmith four-and-a-half hours after the woman’s operation began to transplant her pancreas. He had instructed two junior doctors to transplant her kidney first.
Ian Scott, representing Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs Hammersmith hospital, said survival rates from pancreas transplants were “much better” if the process was completed within 20 hours.
He said the 25-hour “cold ischemic time” – the time between chilling the organ after its blood supply has been cut off and it being warmed by having its blood supply restored in the transplant patient – “increased the risk to FB significantly”.
He said no-one questioned Prof Hakim’s clinical abilities but told him: “That is devastating evidence… you have taken a very serious risk with FB.
“You deliberately delayed the pancreas [transplant] as a result of the commitment to private patients at the Cromwell…You are sacrificing the interests of the NHS to your commitment to the private patients at the Cromwell.”
Prof Hakim, who is seeking reinstatement, insisted he acted in the best interest of all three patients and said the woman’s operation had been a success.
“The outcome is excellent after 26 months,” he said. “The patient is completely off insulin. She is 43. She was 41 when she had the transplant. She was diabetic since she was 18. She is now cured of diabetes.”
He insisted he was unaware of the time the pancreas had been kept on ice, and said the NHS operation had been completed more quickly than a colleague could have managed. He said his approach ensured the donor organs were not wasted.
“The plan was a success,” Prof Hakim said. “If the other gentleman [consultant surgeon Jeremy Crane] had done the transplant, it would have taken much, much longer to do – or I could have easily rejected the organs, the way my other colleagues do reject organs just for the sake of not doing transplants.”
See here for a PDF reporting on the opening day of the tribunal: Nadey Hakim tribunal first day
The hearing continues.