David Sellu is a colorectal surgeon based in London, who was unfairly convicted of killing a patient in 2010, who died of complication of emergency bowel surgery. As a consequence, he spent almost 2 years in prison before he was released and able to launch an appeal that overturned his conviction. He has since written a book, describing his experiences and also his pathway into medicine, from very humble beginnings in Sierra Leone, Africa.
His story is truly a fascinating one, and has a lesson as well as inspiration for all surgeons.
David Sellu qualified in Medicine from Manchester and held his first post as Consultant Surgeon in Oman. There he helped shape the curriculum of the new medical school and also worked in a new tertiary hospital.
On return to the UK in 1993, Sellu was employed as an academic, as a Senior Lecturer in Surgery at the then Royal Postgraduate Medical School at Hammersmith Hospital, later incorporated into Imperial College. Afterwards, he transferred to the NHS as a Consultant General and Colorectal Surgeon at Ealing Hospital. While at Ealing, he was granted practising privileges at the private Clementine Churchill Hospital in Harrow.
A patient died under his care at the Clementine in 2010, an event that was to change his life. He was unfairly convicted of the patient’s manslaughter and given a two-and-a-half year prison sentence; he served half of this in some of the toughest prisons in the country.
On his release his friends, family and he launched an appeal, which saw his conviction overturned in the Royal Courts of Justice. They uncovered evidence of racism and corporate greed, where the interest of the business prevailed over patient safety.
Sellu has written a riveting account of these events in a memoir entitled ‘Did He Save Lives? A Surgeon’s Story.’