Surgeon won't be charged over death

Last updated 16:44 14/05/2014
Jim Nicholls
Fairfax NZ

REST IN PEACE: Jim Nicholls died after undergoing surgery in 2012 to repair a hernia and remove his gall bladder.

Michael Parry
CLEARED: Marlborough surgeon Michael Parry, who is at the centre of a criminal investigation into botched surgery, won't be charged.

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Police have concluded an investigation into the death of a patient at Wairau Hospital in Blenheim and have decided not to lay charges.

Zimbabwe-born doctor Michael Parry was stood down from his post at the public hospital after the death of Jim Nicholls, 81, after surgery in May 2012 to repair a hernia and remove his gall bladder. Parry was on paid leave until he resigned in May last year.

Another patient, Rachel Riddell, 31, died of blood loss in January 2011 after Parry removed her gall bladder.

A coroner's inquiry into the two deaths was put on hold in December 2012 when police launched their own investigation into one of the deaths, to determine whether there was any "liability or culpability". The deaths, along with surgeries Parry performed on Angie Webber, 28, a 37-year-old Upper Hutt woman, and a third patient, also came under scrutiny during the police inquiry.

In a statement this afternoon police said their investigation file had been independently reviewed by the Tasman Crown solicitor who concluded the evidence gathered did not reach the threshold for prosecution and no charges would be laid.

The matter had been referred to the coroner, police said.

In the course of their inquiry, police received information from the Nelson Marlborough and Canterbury district health boards, the Medical Council and the Health and Disability Commissioner. A surgeon in Hamilton also provided them with an independent report on Nicholls' operation.

Parry moved to New Zealand in April 2010 after working in hospitals in South Africa, England and Abu Dhabi.

He declined to comment during the police investigation.

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- The Press

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