Mr Justice Johnson turns down appeal against 5-month suspension of consultant urological surgeon in unconsented vaginectomy case.

In the case off Garaffa v General Medical Council [2021] EWHC 539 (Admin) (09 March 2021), the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) found that Mr Giulio Garaffa’s (the Appellant) fitness to practise was impaired on account of misconduct and that his name should be suspended from the medical register for a period of 5 months.

The case before the MPTS involved, in brief, an allegation that Mr Giulio Garaffa carried out a vaginectomy on a patient (“Patient A”) without his consent and that a copy of the consent form was dishonestly amended by the Appellant’s assistant, Dr Capece, to include reference to a vaginectomy.

The MPTS considered that two issues were central to its resolution of the case, namely whether Patient A had consented to the vaginectomy, and whether, when and in what circumstances “+ vaginectomy” was entered on the consent form.

As to the first of these issues, the MPT found that Patient A did not consent to a vaginectomy. As to the amendment to the consent form, the MPT was entirely satisfied that this took place after Patient A had been anaesthetised and without Patient A’s knowledge and in circumstances where Dr Capece knew that Patient A had not consented to the procedure.

Mr Giulio Garaffa appealed the MTPS decision on the grounds of the MPT’s findings of fact, the finding of misconduct, the finding of impairment, and the sanction of a (non-immediate) suspension of 5 months.

In dismissing the appeal on all its grounds, Mr Justice Johnson found that:

  • Patient A did not consent to the vaginectomy;
  • the amendment to the consent form to include “vaginectomy” was made after surgery commenced;
  • the Appellant’s failure to ensure he had Patient A’s consent for the surgery amounted to misconduct;
  • the Appellant’s fitness to practise was impaired by reason of that misconduct; and
  • the Appellant should be suspended for a period of 5 months.

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