Former surgeon Eljamel prepares for new life abroad

Muftah Salem Eljamel.

A disgraced Tayside surgeon has sold up and packed his bags as he prepares for a new life abroad.

Muftah Salem Eljamel has left Newport-on-Tay and also applied for his Edinburgh neurosurgery business to be struck off and dissolved.

© DC Thomson
Ninewells Hospital.

The 61-year-old is understood to have property and a neurosurgery business in America and he also has links to the Philippines.

Mr Eljamel remains the subject of ongoing civil cases in relation to surgery carried out during his time with NHS Tayside which are still going through the Court of Session in Edinburgh.

Fife woman Winnie Williamson claimed surgery by Mr Eljamel at Ninewells Hospital ended her 18-year dance career and left her with long-term health difficulties.

“It angers me that he can regenerate a new life when others clearly struggle,” she said.

“I am livid that those who can do and those who can’t will still suffer.

“I never pursued the legal case but will fully support those who continue.

“In the end it looks like money, earnings and arrogance has won again.”

Mr Eljamel – who had been 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 Hospital in Dundee.

He also had to step down from his teaching and research posts at Dundee University after the interim order by the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service.

The GMC later allowed Mr Eljamel to remove himself from the medical register, after ruling it was in the best interests of patients.

A national hotline was subsequently set up to identify possible victims of Mr Eljamel and was besieged by calls.

The Scottish Government said it was “very sorry” after a series of operations left patients claiming their long-term health had been affected – but it ruled out an inquiry, stating it was “satisfied” that a “thorough and wide-ranging” investigation by NHS Tayside will “prevent this happening again in future”.

Mr Eljamel was involved in a series of controversies after giving up his licence to practise.

He continued to jet around the globe on speaking engagements and faced a suggestion of apparent misrepresentation by Dundee and Liverpool universities.

He is still publishing in the Journal of Neurosurgery using several titles which shouldn’t be in his signature, including MD and claiming to be a member of different branches of the Royal College of Surgeons – which he is not.

Mr Eljamel is being represented by the Medical and Dental Defence Union of Scotland which said it was unable to comment on behalf of its member “due to duties of confidentiality”.

NHS Tayside said it was unable to comment on what this will mean for the cases “as this is a legal matter”.

 

Eljamel timeline

February 2014 – Mr Eljamel is suspended from his post at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee after a patient underwent surgery on the wrong spinal disc. He also has to step down from his teaching and research posts at Dundee University following the interim order by the Medical Practitioners’ Tribunal Service.

March 2015 – Former Dundee DJ Pat Kelly demands a public inquiry after claiming he was the victim of a “botched operation” by Mr Eljamel in 2007. Health Minister Shona Robison later rejects the inquiry calls.  Many more people come forward to say they were also left with long-term health difficulties following surgery by Mr Eljamel.   The Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service determines the interim order of conditions against Mr Eljamel, imposed in February 2014, should remain in place and be subject to review.

May 2015 – A dedicated national hotline is set up by top personal injury lawyer Patrick McGuire of Thompson’s to identify possible victims of Mr Eljamel.  Later, Mr Eljamel sparks fury as he jets off to Brazil to address guests at the opening ceremony of the 15th International Photo-dynamic Association (IPA) World Congress at the five-star Belmond Copacabana Palace Hotel in Rio de Janeiro.  It later emerges that the IPA did not know about his suspension.

August 2015 – Mr Eljamel gives up his licence to practise ahead of a hearing to decide if he should be struck off. 

September 2015 – The Scottish Government said it was “very sorry” after a series of operations left patients claiming their long-term health had been affected – but it ruled out an inquiry, stating it was “satisfied” that a “thorough and wide-ranging” investigation by NHS Tayside would “prevent this happening again in future”.

October 2015 – Personal injury lawyer Patrick McGuire admits that medical negligence cases against Mr Eljamel could take years.

February 2016 – Liverpool University investigates claims that Mr Eljamel may be pretending to work there as he continues to jet around the globe on lucrative speaking engagements.

March 2016 – Mr Eljamel comes under fire after designing his own tartan.  The colour scheme infuriates his former patients as it states: “White is for purity, sincerity and peace; black for strength and courage; green for hope and love; red for honour and sacrifice; blue for strength and loyalty; and yellow for generosity and charity”.

July 2016 – Mr Eljamel is accused of giving the impression he is representing Dundee University on a speaking engagement in China.

October 2016 – Mr Eljamel’s appearance at the Royal Society of Medicine conference in London is hastily cancelled.  He is removed from the schedule when it is brought to the attention of organisers that he no longer holds a medical licence.

February 2017 – Mr Eljamel incurs the wrath of the doctors’ regulator and the Scottish Government’s chief medical officer.  He is told to take down false information from his website that claimed he was still registered with the GMC despite the fact he gave up his licence to practise in August 2015 ahead of a hearing to decide if he should be struck off.

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