In April 2014, I wrote about a Consultant Oral and Maxillofacial surgeon who had been suspended by The University Hospital of North Staffordshire NHS Trust (“the Trust”) amidst concerns about patient safety. At the time, the Trust did not reveal his name but he’s since been identified as Mr Roger Bainton. It is now suspected that around 100 of Mr Bainton’s former patients may have been injured as a result of his substandard treatment. Many of these patients are now pursuing medical negligence claims for compensation. As a firm, we are assisting many of Mr Bainton’s former patients.
1. Who is Roger Bainton?
Mr Bainton qualified as a doctor in 1977. He specialises in the treatment of facial injuries and also provided dental treatment.
In the 1990’s he worked at the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary. During his time there, he was investigated about the death of one of his patients and struck off the dental register as a result. He was also reprimanded by the General Medical Council for “serious professional misconduct” and suspended from practicing for 12 months.
In 2007, he was appointed as a Consultant at The University Hospital of North Staffordshire NHS Trust. He treated patients who had suffered facial injuries, especially to the eye socket and jaw.
In 2009, Mr Bainton set up a private cosmetic clinic in Aberdeen, the Aesthetics Aberdeen Clinic.
Mr Bainton has not worked at the Trust since February 2013, when he was suspended. He is still on the General Medical Council’s register, which means he can legally practise as a doctor, although he has strict conditions placed on him, restricting what he can do.
2. How did this happen?
In early 2013, Mr Bainton’s colleagues reported their fears that he was exposing patients to unnecessary risk. Once alerted, the Trust asked the Royal College of Surgeons (“RCS”) for help. The RCS produced a report which found that “patients [had] at least not been helped, and at worst come to harm due to the standard of care provided”.
The Trust launched their own internal investigation and wrote to at least 88 patients, alerting them that their treatment may have been substandard. Mr Bainton was suspended by the Trust and has not worked there since 1 February 2013.
3. What are the concerns about an artificial bone substitute?
At least 33 patients have been contacted following concerns that they were inappropriately treated with an artificial bone substitute. The majority of these patients had suffered severe trauma to their eye socket.
In many cases, Mr Bainton used DBX or PDS, types of artificial bone substitute, as an implant to support the lower part of the eye socket. Whilst the use of these materials is not illegal, the particular technique used goes against the standard guidelines advised by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and the Royal College of Surgeons. The use of these artificial bone substitutes in this way is found to cause patients damage and scarring. As part of the conditions currently on Mr Bainton, he is prohibited from using any DBX/PDS materials in surgery.
4. What are the concerns about surgery?
At least 19 patients have been contacted following concerns that they underwent unnecessary surgery to the eye socket. Whilst these patients may not have had complaints about their surgery, investigations have found that they should have either had less invasive treatment first or been seen by doctors in other fields before surgery was undertaken. Unnecessary surgery causes patients to suffer avoidable pain, scarring and risks such as infection.
5. What are the concerns about treatment to the jaw?
At least 36 patients have been contacted following concerns regarding treatment they had to their jaw. These patients were suffering from either injuries to their jaw, such as fractures, or a jaw joint disorder (also referred to as temporomandibular joint disorder or TMD). Investigations revealed that these patients underwent open surgery when other less invasive treatments were available and should have been tried first. This meant that patients underwent avoidable surgery which caused them pain, scarring and put them at risk of further injuries such as infection. As part of the conditions currently affecting Mr Bainton, he is prohibited from treating any patients with temporomandibular joint disorders.