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Infant Deaths Lead to Review of Paediatric Cardiac Surgery at Oxford Hospital


Paediatric cardiac surgery has been temporarily suspended at Oxford’s John Radcliffe hospital pending an inquiry, following the deaths of four infants in the space of three months.

All four of the deaths occurred whilst the infants were under the care of the hospital’s sole paediatric cardiac surgeon, Caner Salih. A spokesman for the hospital has confirmed there is currently ’no suggestion’ that the deaths occurred as a result of errors made by Mr Salih or in the management of the unit.

The deaths do call attention to a worrying trend in paediatric cardiac surgery survival rates at the hospital, one that may be a direct result of a lack of funding and subsequent clinical negligence.

The John Radcliffe Hospital treats about 100 paediatric cardiac patients a year, which may well be considered too few to guarantee that the best possible resources and care are provided during, and following these complex, life changing operations.

The likely outcome of an ongoing review and the temporary cessation of paediatric cardiac surgery in Oxford is the closure of smaller units in favour of larger dedicated teams in fewer centres.

According to Darbys Solicitors’ Richard Money-Kyrle, “The debate between local and specialist provision of medical care runs throughout all medical disciplines and across all hospitals and GP surgeries.”

“It is recognised that for rare and complex conditions, better quality treatment is provided in large specialist centres, however local providers and communities are frequently reluctant to see services move out of their area. Situations such as the one at John Radcliffe have the potential to bring these discussions to the fore.”

Darbys Solicitors are recognised as medical negligence specialists by Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA). Their experienced clinical negligence solicitors are willing to undertake interviews or provide further information; please contact Jane Reeve on 01865 811218 or visit their website:


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