Luigi Belcuore knee surgery death: Family given compensation

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Media captionPenny Belcuore, said it had been "a long slog".

The family of a man who died during an operation on his knee has been awarded an undisclosed sum in compensation.

Luigi Belcuore, from Warwickshire, died in October 2009 when attempts to close the wound in his knee went wrong at the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital in Shropshire.

The father-of-three, 43, was taking part in a stem cell clinical trial when he died.

The hospital trust said it was "pleased a settlement has been agreed".

A medical tribunal has been considering the incident and whether Prof James Richardson, the surgeon who operated on Mr Belcuore, is fit to practise.

Prof Richardson continues to be licensed to practice as a doctor.

'Long slog'

An inquest in March 2011 heard he had adapted a spray gun to close the wound in Mr Belcuore's knee.

But the technique caused an air bubble that stopped Mr Belcuore's heart.

The clinical trial he had been taking part in was testing new techniques for treating knee cartilage problems.

In a statement, the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said: "The trust made an early admission of liability and the parties' lawyers have been working together to achieve settlement which has now been approved by the court.

"The trust deeply regrets the tragic loss of Mr Belcuore's life and offers its sincere apologies to Mrs Belcuore and her family and would like to wish them well for the future."

Speaking after the compensation hearing at Birmingham High Court, his widow, Penny Belcuore, said it had been "a long slog".

"I'm relieved today is over and it's finally come to an end," she said.

Mr Belcuore, who was from Morton Bagot and also know as Louis, leaves two daughters, aged five and six, and a son of two.

His wife found out she was pregnant with the couple's third child four weeks after his death.

'Appalling tragedy'

Victoria Blankstone, of solicitors Irwin Mitchell, which has been representing the family, said: "Today is a difficult day for Louis' family.

"While Penny is relieved the approval hearing means their three young children will be properly provided for financially, nothing can turn back the clock and the fact remains Louis' death was the most appalling and needless tragedy."

A panel of the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) has been considering whether Prof Richardson's actions amount to misconduct which impair his fitness to practice.

The panel has been looking at allegations including that the doctor's use of the spray-gun device was not in accordance with the manufacturer's guidelines and that he used a different sized needle than he intended to.

It is also alleged Prof Richardson did not inform his patient about the modifications of the device and that his actions increased the risk of air embolism.

The panel was adjourned on Friday after part hearing the case and will reconvene later in the year, an MPTS spokeswoman said.

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