Anaesthetist 'slept in a chair' as patient lay on operating table giving birth during major surgeryDr Rajat Banerjee was in another room with arms folded and head on chest
Had given patient spinal injection before a caesarean was carried outFell asleep on another occasion after claiming to be 'unwell', hearing told
Denies misconduct charges at Medical Practitioner's Tribunal Service

Steve Robson


15:40 GMT, 21 March 2013



17:04 GMT, 21 March 2013

Accused: A hearing was told Dr Rajat Banerjee was seen sleeping in a chair while a patient had a major operation

Accused: A disciplinary hearing was told Dr Rajat Banerjee was seen 'asleep in a chair' after giving a patient a spinal injection during a major operation

An anaesthetist slept in a chair as his patient lay on the operating table giving birth, a hearing was told.

Dr Rajat Subhra Banerjee was seen with his eyes shut, arms folded, head on chest in an adjacent room, it is claimed.

A midwife said she had never seen an anaesthetist leave a patient in her 14 years working at Royal Bolton Hospital.

Caroline Finch said: 'I remember glancing into the anaesthetics room. He had his arms folded, chin on chest and legs outstretched.

'The door was slightly opened and I could see right into it. From his appearance he looked like he was asleep to me.'

She went over to a colleague and said: 'Just come and have a look and tell me what you think.'

Dr Banerjee had given the patient a spinal injection before a caesarean was carried out.

During the operation her blood pressure dropped and he was called back in to administer further drugs, but then immediately left.

Miss Finch added: 'I felt that when I have got a lady on the treatment table he should be with that lady.

'He should not ever leave that lady. He appeared to be asleep when we had a lady on the table having major surgery.'

Miss Finch observed Banerjee in the position on three occasions over a period of around ten minutes, the panel heard.

She added: 'In all my time of being a midwife I have never known an anaesthetist leave a lady on the treatment table for the amount of time Dr Banerjee did.'

Dr Banerjee was working at Royal Bolton Infirmary, now Royal Bolton Hospital, at the time of the incident

Dr Banerjee was working at Royal Bolton Hospital at the time of the incident

The incident is said to have occurred on the May 22, 2009 and the doctor is also charged with falling asleep after administering an anaesthetic on May 16, 2009.

Consultant anaesthetist Wyn Price claimed Banerjee had told him he was 'unwell' on one of the occasions when he apparently drifted off.

'He mentioned not being that well during the day,' said Mr Price.

On another occasion Banerjee failed to administer enough anaesthetic, risking the patient waking up during an operation.

'He was not as deeply anaesthetised as appropriate,' said Mr Price.

'In this case it was a short period, not enough for the patient to wake up, but it could have gone further if not highlighted.'

Dr Banerjee also claimed to have taken study leave to attend medical courses which he did not go to in 2006.

He faces a number of other misconduct charges at the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service in Manchester.

The hearing continues.