Top UK heart surgeon Professor Marjan Jahangiri is set to return to her post at St George’s University Hospital after a high court ruling found her suspension of 9 August to be superfluous. The 56-year old professor was suspended during an investigation into allegations that she verbally abused a nurse and gave preference to private patients over those making use of NHS. Mr. Justice Nicklin QC ruled in her favour on 28 August after Jahangiri took legal action and requested the judge to lift her exclusion order.

Who Is Professor Marjan Jahangari?

As one of the top heart surgeons in both the UK and Europe, Prof Jahangari performs in the region of 300 operations a year. When she isn’t in the operating theatre, the professor engages in a range of pertinent research projects on topics such as adult congenital surgery, aortic surgery and its aneurysms, percutaneous aortic valve implantations and off-pump coronary artery surgery. Jahangari is also a recurrent guest speaker at a variety of national and international conventions and has penned more than 150 peer-reviewed articles for a range of esteemed publications.

Witch Hunt Against The Professor

During court proceedings, Iain Quirk, Jahangiri’s counsel, lashed out at what he described as a witch hunt against the professor which resulted in her being suspended on ‘the thinnest of grounds’. Two leading hospital surgeons were suspended from their duties amidst reports that they were perceived as troublemakers by hospital management. Mr. Quirk went on to explain to Mr. Justice Nicklin that the professor’s trainees threatened that they would abscond if she was not reinstated to provide them with adequate training. He continued that the cardiac department was halting all her research projects with critical surgical procedure having been cancelled without any explanation offered to patients.

Bully Or Victim?

Being the first female professor of cardiac surgery in Europe, it doesn’t seem improbable that Jahangiri’s colleagues were somewhat envious of her immense success. The professor, who boasts an extremely low mortality rate of 1.2% in contrast to the 7%-15% UK average, claimed that she was the victim of a malicious harassment and bullying campaign that included her being sent a headless doll and dead animal in the post. After the court ordered for her to be reinstated, Jahangiri said that she was looking forward to returning to her post stating that her priorities remain the same – to combine outstanding patient care with training and research.

Further Lawsuits May Follow

While the high court ruled in Jahangiri’s favor, lawyers representing St George’s stated that she had actioned a breach of contract complaint that needs to still be analyzed, suggestion that additional hearings are being anticipated. The chief executive of the St George’s NHS foundation trust, Jacqueline Totterdell uttered that she was extremely thwarted by the court’s ruling but that she respectfully understood it. Totterdell added: “We welcome that this ruling is not about guilt or exoneration, and the judge made no finding on the facts being investigated.” She went on to say that the judge stated that the exclusion process was not fitting but that he did make allowance for the trust to persist in its investigation into a number of grave issues that were brought to their attention.

Resources & Further Reading:

Judge overturns south London hospital’s ban on heart surgeon – The Guardian – https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/aug/28/judge-overturns-south-london-hospitals-ban-on-heart-surgeon-st-georges

The Times – Judge overturns Marjan Jahangiri’s suspension from St George’s hospital –https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/judge-overturns-marjan-jahangiri-s-suspension-from-st-george-s-hospital-wrlphv50h

The Telegraph – Trailblazing female heart surgeon ‘forced out’ from unit by colleagues ‘envious of her success’ – https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/08/24/trailblazing-female-heart-surgeon-forced-unit-colleagues-envious/

St George’s University of London – Professor Marjan Jahangiri – https://www.sgul.ac.uk/research-profiles-a-z/marjan-jahangiri

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