Next time you meet someone who is adamant about their distrust of modern medicine, you will probably remember this near ridiculous and sad story of Lawal Haruna.
Prior to 2013, as far as we know, Lawal Haruna was a respected member of the UK Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service but all that was to change when Lawal mistakenly removed a pad of fat from a man identified as “Patient A”, who had acute appendicitis. Patient A experienced pain for a month after his operation since the offending appendix was still there.
In March 2015, Lawal made an even graver mistake when a woman got admitted to the hospital that he worked at for abdominal pain. Lawal Haruna mistakenly removed the patient’s Fallopian tube and ovary during an operation to remove her appendix.
These incidents are only two of a series of botched operations carried out by Haruna over two years which were so poorly executed, fellow medical colleagues described them as ‘never events’. In one, Lawal removed a skin tag from a patient who had been admitted with a cyst.
The UK Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service struck Lawal off following the reproductive organs debacle, which was undoubtedly the most costly of all the mistakes. According to the UK Telegraph, Lawal, who says he has 25 years’ experience in medicine, dismissed the incidents as “trifling errors,” claiming that the appendix and Fallopian tubes were similar “worm-like structures which lie in a similar area.”
Lawal Haruna had been working for the Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Trust which oversaw six hospitals from 2013- 2015, during which period all the incidents occurred.
He represented himself at a Manchester hearing and said that he had been suffering from “poor vision” at the time and so it would be “harsh” to strike him off;
“I want to apologise to all the patients. I didn’t experience operative difficulties, in removing whatever I removed. Everything had gone along fine and it was not difficult to remove. It was only later I realised it was not the appropriate part. The operation itself, the technicality, was fine but the wrong specimen was removed. I have performed hundreds of appendectomies. This was due to lapse of judgment,”
His appeal seemed to fall far short of the mark seeing as the UK Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service went on to strike him off and we can’t say that we are not glad at their decision.