Evening Telegraph

Dundee man blasts surgeon who left late wife ‘like a vegetable’

William Steven holding a family photograph, with his late wife Mary in blue

A Kirkton pensioner claims his late wife was left “like a vegetable” after being operated on by a disgraced surgeon.

William Steven has spoken out for the first time following a damning documentary on the practices of Professor Muftah Salem Eljamel at Ninewells Hospital.

The 76-year-old said his wife Mary, who died in 2011 aged 60, suffered blindness and difficulty speaking.

BBC Scotland’s Disclosure: Harmed by My Surgeon heard the testimonies of dozens of people who claim to have been left with health difficulties as a result of his operations.

Mr Steven said Mr Eljamel operated on Mary at Ninewells for two aneurysms “five or six years” before her death.

The pensioner claims that he was told by Mr Eljamel that his wife did not suffer bleeding on the brain in the operation but it is claimed this was contradicted in a complaints report by NHS Tayside.

Speaking to the Tele, Mr Steven said: “My wife had been having problems so she was taken into Ninewells for a CT scan and Mr Eljamel told her she had two aneurysms in her head.

“She had her operation and they said it all went fine but I could tell not long after there was something seriously wrong.

“I was up seeing her at the hospital and my daughter came down and phoned me to ask if I knew Mary was getting another CT scan.

Surgeon Muftah Salem Eljamel.

“I knew nothing about it and they told me it was just a precautionary measure. I got the medical report from Ninewells and according to Mr Eljamel there was no bleed during the operation.

“They clipped it but the report says that she actually lost 10cc of blood. She ended up like a vegetable.”

Mr Steven added: “The speech therapist said the vein and the mouth weren’t working together. She started going blind and then ended up fully blind.

“The report from the complaints department said that she bled but Mr Eljamel said the complete opposite. They told me that they had to go by whatever the doctor said.

“Mr Eljamel told me that she would be back to her old self in two days after the operation.”

Mr Eljamel, formerly a consultant neurological surgeon at NHS Tayside since 1995, was suspended in 2014 after a patient had surgery on the wrong spinal disc at Ninewells.

He is the subject of several ongoing civil cases in relation to surgery carried out during his time with NHS Tayside.

The health board told the programme it had “listened” to patients’ concerns and “taken appropriate action” to support them.

Mr Eljamel’s lawyer told the makers of the programme his client had no comment to make.