A CORONER is to write to the General Medical Council (GMC) after a doctor was accused of gross negligence for a patient’s treatment in the days before his death.

An inquest into the death of John Thomson, 79, from Hutton Rudby, near Stokesley, in North Yorkshire, found that while Dr Krishnamoorthy Srikanth’s actions during an aborted operation did not directly cause his death four days later, his fitness to practice should be investigated.

Dr Srikanth, a consultant anesthetist at the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton, failed to read Mr Thomson’s medical notes or properly examine him before the operation to remove part of his colon due to cancer on December 7, 2009.

Mr Thomson had undergone a tracheotomy 33 years earlier and had his larynx removed, leaving no connection between his mouth and lungs, which meant he was entirely reliant on the stoma, or hole, in his throat to breathe.

Although Dr Srikanth was told about his condition, he thought that because Mr Thomson could speak it meant he still had a small hole in his throat which could be used for intubation, but did not check.

The inquest heard Dr Srikanth only checked Mr Thomson’s throat after he was unconscious and had stopped breathing and that he panicked when he realised the airway was sealed.

Mr Thomson suffered a heart attack before a surgeon intubated him through his stoma.

Although he recovered from the anesthetic, Mr Thomson, 79, died on December 12, 2009, due to asphyxiation caused by thick mucus blocking his throat.

Giving evidence, Dr Srikanth said: “I have to accept that I made mistakes when I saw Mr Thomson before his operation. I had not met him before that day and I did not read his medical notes.

“When I looked in his airway during the operation I realised my mistake – it was a serious error which I admit.”

Professor Alan Aitkenhead told the inquest it was likely Mr Thomson would have suffered the same mucus blockage that led to his death even if the operation had gone smoothly. However, he described Dr Srikanth’s actions as “gross negligence”.

Recording a verdict of misadventure, Mr Oakley said that although the failed anesthetic did not have a direct link to Mr Thomson’s death, he would be writing to the General Medical Council to ask them to investigate Dr Srikanth’s fitness to practice in the light of his negligence.

Dr Srikanth was suspended by South Tees Hospital NHS Trust on the day of the incident.

After the hearing, Professor Rob Wilson, medical director for South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “There will now be a disciplinary investigation.”