Croutons land top brain surgeon in the soup


    Croutons land top brain surgeon in the soup

    A leading British brain surgeon has been suspended from work following a dispute over a bowl of soup.

    Dr Terence Hope was sent home from the Queen's Medical Centre in Nottingham, where newspapers say there is a 39-day waiting list for brain operations, after being accused of taking extra croutons without paying, hospital sources said on Monday.

    "A consultant was suspended following allegations surrounding his personal conduct," the hospital said in a statement.

    "He was due to operate today on three patients. Their surgery has had to be postponed."

    Dr Hope, 57, who has been working as a neurosurgeon in Nottingham for 18 years, is an expert in traumatic brain injuries.

    Efforts to contact him not immediately successful.

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  3. by   Ted
    That'll teach the surgeon not to take too many croutons for his soup! Hopefully "clepto-brain-surgeon" learned his lesson!

    Now. What about the patients whose surgeries were put on hold??

    The "punishment" seems to be a bit too excessive. . . .
    Last edit by Ted on Mar 22, '04
  4. by   nekhismom
    Quote from efiebke
    That'll teach the surgeon not to take too many croutons for his soup!

    Now. What about the patients whose surgeries were put on hold??

    EXACTLY my thoughts!!! Um, really, couldn't the hospital just take a few cents out of his check?? OR send him a BILL if he doesn't get a check from them??? How insane!
  5. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    Helloooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo priorites???
  6. by   jkaee
    Absolutely unbelievable. :angryfire Did admin think at all about what that move would do to those 3 pts prepped and waiting for their surgery?

    "Yes, I'm sorry Mrs Jones, but that cancerous lesion in your brain will have to stay there for the time being, as your surgeon is currently under investigation by the hospital.....what.....what for? Well, I'm afraid it is for theft. No, not, not surgical equipment.....actually, Mrs. Jones, he stole some crutons from the cafeteria."

    It reminds me of a hospital I worked at years ago, where staff had to empty their pockets before leaving to make sure no one was stealing anything....yeah, alcohol swabs are a hot commodity on the streets.
  7. by   Noney
    Zero tolerance.

  8. by   jemb
    The headline is misleading.

    Maybe all he did was take the extra croutons.

    Or maybe he threw a bowl of soup at someone in a fit of anger when reminded that he hadn't paid.

    And maybe he's already been warned one or two - or twenty - times about his tantrums, and has a history of throwing things when he gets upset.

    Nah, a surgeon would never do that.
  9. by   donmurray
    Surgeon suspended over soup!
    by CHRIS BROOKE, Daily Mail - 23rd March 2004

    A top brain surgeon has been suspended from work in a dispute over a bowl of soup.

    Terence Hope is accused of taking an extra helping at the staff canteen without paying.

    The 80,000-a-year neurosurgeon has been sent home on full pay from the Queen's Medical Centre in Nottingham, a teaching hospital where he is a senior lecturer as well as a consultant.

    Colleagues are furious at the decision. They say patients will suffer while the NHS is deprived of a highly-skilled expert at a time when there is already a critical shortage of neurosurgeons.

    Mr Hope himself has been left stunned and shocked. He told a colleague he was only getting some extra croutons. The surgeon, a 57-year-old father of three, spent yesterday tending the garden at his 700,000 home in the Leicestershire hamlet of Hemington.

    Surgeon refuses to comment

    Asked about his suspension, he said: "I have been told by the hospital not to say anything at all."

    There is understood to be no suggestion that Mr Hope was abusive when confronted about the alleged "theft".

    But an official complaint was made to hospital management after the incident last Wednesday and an investigation is under way.

    Medical staff are amazed that Mr Hope was sent home over such "a minor misunderstanding".

    One colleague at the hospital's neurological unit, which is a regional centre taking patients from across the East Midlands, said: "It's absolutely crazy. It is only patients who will suffer."

    A senior neurosurgeon and former colleague of Mr Hope, who asked not to be named, said: "Terence Hope has an international reputation for excellence and is a leading light in his field.

    "There are not a lot of brain surgeons around, in fact there are fewer brain surgeons in Britain than almost anywhere else you can think of. To pull someone out of the service is a very serious matter, both for the individual patients and the person who is dealt with.

    "People have to be pretty desperate to go to a neurosurgeon and the surgeon has to look after them hour by hour and day by day. The consultant holds the whole show together.

    "It is certainly true that if you take one consultant out it is very difficult for another one to take over.

    "In a good department like Queen's no doubt they will take over. But to pull a neurosurgeon for anything, unless he is technically dangerous, must hazard the whole service."

    Patients stunned

    Patients' groups were also stunned. The Trigeminal Neuralgia Association said: "This does seem extraordinary. Any patient would be astounded."

    The waiting time for brain operations in the Nottingham region is officially 39 days for outpatients.

    There are few brain surgeons of Mr Hope's experience and qualifications in this country.

    He trained at Liverpool University and has been working in the NHS as a qualified doctor for the last 34 years - 19 of them in Nottingham. He is a leading expert on vascular neurosurgery.

    The Queen's Medical Centre NHS Trust said last night: "A consultant was suspended on Wednesday following an alleged incident at the hospital which did not relate to any patient or another member of staff.

    "The matter will now be discussed as soon as possible with the consultant involved. In the meantime, the trust is not prepared to talk any further."

    The hospital management is understood to be hoping to resolve the matter "quickly".

    There is a general shortage of skilled neurosurgeons in this country.

    In 2000, a report by the Society of British Neurological Surgeons said patients were dying needlessly because there were not enough surgeons or specialist beds. It found that only just over

    half of the UK's 37 specialist units had reached the minimum number of consultant surgeons and only 14 per cent had the recommended number of intensive care beds.

    Cases involving the suspension of medical staff have become a 40million-a-year headache for the NHS.

    A report last year revealed that hundreds of doctors are left kicking their heels at home for months or even years because of bosses' incompetence at settling disputes. The National Audit Office said many cases do not even involve patient safety but are the result of personality clashes with managers.

    Between April 2001 and July 2002 - the last available figures - more than 1,000 NHS doctors, nurses and other clinical staff were suspended on full pay.

    The average suspension of a doctor costs 188,000, made up of continuing salary payments, paying a replacement and administration expenses.


    Find this story at:

    2004 Associated New Media
  10. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    They should put those crouton packs in those Pyxis (sp) machines. That way they can keep track of them a lot better and there won't be any savage doctors stealing croutons!!! LOL
  11. by   jnette
    oh MY !!! :uhoh21:

    First croutons... what THEN..??? A sneaked refill on his coffee or perhaps an extra creamer? Heaven forbid !

    And I thought I'd heard it all.............
  12. by   Elenaster
    Lord have mercy......
    You would think that the hospital would want the man cutting on people's backs and brains to be well fed. He probably needed the extra croutons to make the hospital cafeteria soup palatable.

    Sounds like he made out okay, though. Do you think if I stole a pack of saltines, the hospital would suspend me with full pay?
  13. by   canoehead
    Not a prayer, they'd make you stay after your shift and wash dishes.
  14. by   SmilingBluEyes