A BBC Spotlight programme, aired last night, has revealed that Dr Michael Watt, the Consultant Neurologist at the centre of the large patient recall by the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, carried out hundreds of unnecessary procedures.
In May 2018, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust announced that it would be recalling a large number of patients following concerns raised about Dr Michael Watt in a report by the Royal College of Physicians.
A report into the outcome of the recall was scheduled to be published in June by the Department of Health but was cancelled.
Yesterday’s BBC Spotlight programme claimed that Dr Watt performed a large number of epidural blood patches. A blood patch is a rare neurological treatment, usually for patients with a condition called Spontaneous Intracranial Hypotension. It involves the injecting of a patient’s blood into their spine.
Spotlight revealed that a report by the Department of Health indicated that almost none of the patients on which Dr Watt performed these procedures actually had the condition for which he was treating them.
Over a seven-year period between 2009 and 2017, Dr Watt performed 261 blood patches, of which more than 160 were carried out in 2015 and 2016.
A blood patch expert, Dr Simon Bricker, told BBC Spotlight that an anaesthetist should perform blood patches and that these figures were “extraordinarily high”. Dr Bricker said that “somebody doing epidural blood patches in very large numbers should raise red flags straightaway.”
According to details of a report also obtained by BBC Spotlight, recall appointments and fresh assessments have revealed that one in five patients of Dr Michael Watt were misdiagnosed.
The report reveals that out of almost 3000 patients, around 2000 were said to have a secure diagnosis, with more than 600 reporting to have an insecure diagnosis. The report also indicates that at a similar ratio, 545 patients were placed on an incorrect prescription and 322 patients were informed that it was not clear if they were on the correct medication.
At Thompsons NI we have specialist clinical negligence solicitors with considerable experience of assisting and representing patients who have suffered as a result of delayed diagnosis, misdiagnosis and negligent procedures. Take a look at our medical negligence page for more information about the support we can offer.
Thompsons NI are currently acting on behalf of a number of former patients of Dr Watt including those who have undergone epidural blood patches.
If you have concerns about the medical treatment you have received, please contact either Oonagh McClure or Joanne Kerr of our office on 02890 890450 for free, no obligation advice.