Rope-A-Dope: Leading Facial Surgeon Removed From Hospital Panel After Repeatedly Punching Patient In Face During Surgery

220px-Bellows_George_Dempsey_and_Firpo_1924Professor Ninian Peckitt, 63, is under fire this month after the facial surgeon shocked colleagues by asking another doctor to hold the head of an unconscious patient and proceeded to punch the patient in the face up to ten times “like a boxer.” Now, this was not some pay back for an insult in a bar. Peckitt wanted to move a cheekbone back into place and decided to use a more Muhammad Ali approach.

While accounts say that colleagues at Ipswich Hospital gasped at the sight, a dental surgeon did apparently hold the head of the patient who was unconscious under anaesthesia.

The patient’s cheekbone had become displaced when he fell out of bed at the hospital – requiring a second procedure.

This account is fascinating from a torts perspective. The doctor could claim that there is no alternative but to force the bone back into place and that, while shocking to watch, it is before than surgically cutting the bone. He could further note that physicians force bones back into place in a variety of circumstances and that he was using a series of hits to do the same. Presumably, if he had used an instrument to do this procedure, it would have been less controversial but he could argue that using his fist gave him better control and feeling in moving the bone.

There is also the unreported issue of whether he was in fact successful in moving the bone. However, there is a report that the patient was in fact injured and could have been left blinded by the action. A second operation was carried out to reduce the fracture to the left zygomatic bone.

Peckitt was working as an honorary locum consultant in oral and maxillo-facial surgery at Ipswich Hospital but has been “erased” from the medical register after his knock out round in surgery. The panel chairman, Dr. Ian Spafford said: “The panel has determined that Mr Peckitt’s misconduct is fundamentally incompatible with his continuing to practice medicine . . . the medical register. In the light of all the evidence presented to it, it is satisfied that erasure is a proportionate sanction in his case.”

Source: Daily Mail

52 thoughts on “Rope-A-Dope: Leading Facial Surgeon Removed From Hospital Panel After Repeatedly Punching Patient In Face During Surgery”

  1. @BarkinDog

    Nice song! I was thinking about one called, “Cheek Habit” 🙄 which was done by April March, which here is a cut and paste with guitar chords from a tab site:

    Hang up the cheek habit. Hang it up daddy, or
    B Em
    you’ll be alone in a quick.
    Hang up the cheek habit. Hang it up daddy, or
    B Em
    you’ll never get another fix.

    Am Em
    I’m telling you it’s not a trick, pay attention. Don’t be
    B Em
    thick, or you’re liable to get licked.
    Am Em
    You’re gonna see the reason why, when they’re spitting in your
    B Em
    eye. They’ll be spitting in your eye.

    Here is the melody in case you don’t know it:

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

    PS: Are you any kin to EllenBarkin ???

  2. Get Me Back On My Feet Again-

    Doctor, Doctor, what you say…
    How bout letting me out today!
    Ain’t no reason for me to stay…
    Cause everybody is far away.

    Get me back on my feet again!
    Back on my feet again!
    Open the door, set me free!
    Get me back on my feet again.

    -Randy Newman

  3. It does sound like there is more to the story than was in the initial report. For sure, there is something fishy in the reporting when it initially fails to clarify that the person who used the “like a boxer” description was implying that Peckitt was carefully taking aim. Meanwhile, whether or not his technique was effective or acceptable, no one seems to dispute that there was no malice involved and Peckitt’s intent was to effect a needed bone movement without cutting the patient’s face again.

    I would be concerned about giving the patient a concussion, but even that might have been a minimal risk, depending on the angle and position of the blows. Bizarre.

    And, as Pogo’s quotes hint, there is also the possibility that Peckitt is getting extra heat over this because he is a critic of how the NHS is run.

  4. Well, this makes me wonder if the future of medicine lies in a different direction than we have assumed. And leads to an Irish Poem:

    Hands, On Deck???
    An Irish Poem by Squeeky Fromm

    Oh, whither will medicine go???
    With its surgery bots, and nano. . .
    Or, will MRI scans. . .
    Never replace the hands
    That deliver a good TKO???

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  5. Physical force is not uncommon in the OR, and lots of skeletal fractures are discovered following cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

  6. Thanks for the links, Pogo…

    Repeating what you highlighted in one of the excerpts.

    “Institutional intimidation and victimisation of the workforce is widespread and disciplinary measures are used to silence critics.”

    “Hmmm” is right. There very well may be more to the story, as you’ve noted.

  7. And this from FEB 12, 2015:

    The General Dental Council (GDC) has welcomed the independent review of whistleblowing in the NHS, ‘Freedom to Speak Up’, led by Sir Robert Francis QC.

    The review provides advice and recommendations to ensure that NHS staff feel that it is safe to raise concerns.”

    Response by Professor Ninian Peckitt:

    “Unfortunately the culture of bullying in the NHS that is admitted by Government can only be effective if underpinned by abuse of fitness to practise hearings. Otherwise the bullying is ineffective – it has no teeth. This implies willing / unwilling participation in the bullying process by the regulatory bodies – especially the GMC but also the GDC.
    There is a case to be made for peer review of clinicians to distance the regulators from politics and the willful silencing if critics Through political lay control. There will never be satisfactory regulation until clinicians are assessed by their peers. It is clear that the mission of these bodies has become the political control of the profession and this brings with it the halitosis of heresy.”

  8. Here’s an interesting article that suggests there may be more to this story. It appears Dr. Peckitt is a constant critic of the NHS :

    “Professor Ninian Peckitt, a facial surgeon who trained at the University Hospital of Wales (UHW) in Cardiff and is based at Massey University in New Zealand, contacted Cynon Valley Labour MP Ann Clwyd to tell her the NHS has caused more avoidable deaths than the mass murderer Dr Harold Shipman.

    Ms Clwyd is currently undertaking a review into NHS complaints procedures at the request of David Cameron.

    Last month a report by the Royal College of Surgeons said that more than 150 heart patients had died in the last five years while waiting for surgery at the UHW and at Morriston Hospital in Swansea. Adam Cairns, chief executive of the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board has apologised and acknowledged that things must improve.

    But in a letter sent to Ms Clwyd, Prof Peckitt states: “Adam Cairns’ comment that the problems need to be tackled with a ‘much more resilient plan’ in future is unacceptable, as the problems should not have been permitted to occur in the first place.

    “This kind of statement is commonplace and diverts attention from dysfunctional systems and incompetence. “The NHS is listening to its own delusional voices and this is the real cause of the disease.”

    The professor goes on to assert that the NHS has been “set up to fail – and it has failed miserably.”

    He states: The NHS Trust system has never worked (multiple reorganisations at huge public cost), doesn’t work (multiple scandals) and will never work (corruption, intransigence and projections of financial meltdown).

    “State health care in other countries is vastly superior to our NHS, but successive governments consistently refuse to admit failure. The service continues to disintegrate and more scandals will be exposed as time goes on as a function of system failure.

    “There is a palpable lack of responsibility and accountability in the NHS, especially at executive level. Institutional intimidation and victimisation of the workforce is widespread and disciplinary measures are used to silence critics.

    “The employers have demonstrated that they are not fit for purpose in appraisal-based revalidation and this must be abandoned as it is a means to censor staff who are critical of the system.

    “The institution as it exists has caused more avoidable deaths than the Shipman murders and yet government still fails consistently to address these issues.””



  9. The fact that the medical center saw fit to can this guy, over this episode, makes me feel think that this might just have been the straw that broke the camel’s back. I agree with Paul C, since the first thing that came to mind, while reading this story, was that this may not have been an isolated, inappropriate maneuver on the doc’s part. How many other complaints have been leveled against him?

    I wonder if he’s related to Valbona, the Albanian fake dentist, from the other thread.

  10. Meh.
    “‘When I said it was like a boxer I meant he was carefully aiming where he wanted to hit. ‘Then he pulled his hand back to get the maximum hit as he touched the patient’s face.

    Unconventional, to be sure.It is possible he is a better technician on facial reconstruction than anyone at Ipswich.
    I dunno.

    Ipswich Hospital had the second most complaints of 500 hospitals in the NHS over staff attitude and behavior in 2010.


    “But the 81-year-old was scared and humiliated in the weeks leading up to his death.
    Shouted at and belittled by nurses, the widowed grandfather was scolded for soiling his sheets while suffering from superbug c.difficile, and laughed at when he asked for some clean hospital pyjamas.

    And in 2013, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) rated performance at 44 out of 161 hospitals in England “using 150 different measures, including A&E waiting times, patient safety incidents, rates of hospital-acquired infections and its number of “never” incidents – events that should never happen, such as amputating the wrong limb. Waiting times for cancer treatment, patient satisfaction and death rates.”
    Ipswich Hospital was among the worst 40 performing hospitals.

    I’d hope a facial reconstruction surgeon might opine, but I doubt it.

  11. I have a funny feeling this is not the first time he has done this.

  12. “He is now believed to be working as a consultant surgeon in Dubai and elected not to attend the hearing but issued an email in which he ’emphatically denied’ the allegations.” (Daily Mail)

    It’s too bad that these “events” aren’t recorded.

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