Image copyright FAMILY HANDOUT
Image caption Father-of-two Stefanos Vavalidis expired after a private GP failed to monitor the effects of a prescribed drug

Barbara Vavalidis had been scheduling a carefree retirement after decades of hard work and a busy family life.

Instead she is mourning the loss of her partner of 45 years, the papa of her two sons.

Stefanos Vavalidis died in London in January 2016, aged 69.

He had fallen ill while on holiday abroad in May 2015, and expended the past eight months of his life in hospital.

His widow is suing Dr Peter Wheeler, a private GP who was the family’s trusted physician for more than 30 years, alleging he was poisoned through negligence.

Mrs Vavalidis’s lawyer from Leigh Day solicitors said it was one of the worst cases he had known in more than 30 years.

Dr Wheeler was medical doctors of Diana, Princess of Wales, and was the man who determined their own bodies after she died in a gondola clang 20 years ago.

In his apology to Mrs Vavalidis’s civil contend, due to be heard at the High court next year, Dr Wheeler has admitted he was in breach of their official duties by failing to properly check his patient by ordering the full blood tests, recommended in the standard medications book of facts for all doctors.

BBC News has established that Dr Wheeler is under investigation by the General Medical Council( GMC ), which regulates the UK’s doctors.

And the Metropolitan Police has confirmed it is looking into individual complaints received about the lawsuit.

Image caption Mr Vavalidis’ elder son Alex and widow Barbara crave reactions about his death

Dr Wheeler continues to practise remedy at Sloane Street Surgery in western London without any conditions.

An inquest last November saw Mr Vavalidis died as a result of liver default and this was “most probably links with toxicity” from methotrexate, a drug prescribed for his psoriasis.

‘Poisoned drip by drip’

Mrs Vavalidis, 66, was just telling me: “My husband took methotrexate formerly a week without fail. But he suffered an nearly insidious build-up of health problems like colds and poverty-stricken sleep.

“That was the specific characteristics of being poisoned – drip by trickle by dribble – over this very long period.

“It’s heartbreaking enough to lose your partner of 45 years – but a terminated shock and horror where reference is detected it had is thoroughly avoidable.

“We would prudence people to thoughts carefully about their choices of medical treatment and who is giving it to them.”

‘Horrifying decline’

The family had to have Mr Vavalidis run back by breeze ambulance from Greece to University College London Hospital in July 2015. They have praised his NHS care.

Mrs Vavalidis added: “He was a very intelligent person and had been a great reader.

“But by that time it was clear his brain function had braked considerably.”

She and her elder son Alex accused Dr Wheeler of “arrogance, prolonged carelessness and negligence”.

Alex, 32, said: “The duty of a medical doctor is to protect patients from impairment. That’s not what we got.

“It begs the question of whether the regulators are doing their place. This was not just a one-off – it happened over a significant period of time.

“That last period of his life was frightening. We’d like to prevent this happening to other people.”

The Medical Defence Union, which is representing Dr Wheeler, said he was unable to comment “due to his duty of patient confidentiality and the ongoing legal proceedings”.

Mr Vavalidis was first prescribed the medication by another doctor in 1999 and in 2003 Dr Wheeler took over prescribing it from him.

Breach of duty

Dr Wheeler states that Mr Vavalidis, who was obese and diabetic, would still have died of liver failure.

But Dr Wheeler admits that if the full research had been be carried forward, his patient could have lived up to two years longer.

The newspapers too acknowledge that Dr Wheeler and the surgery did not have any plan for pennant up the necessity of achieving these regular exams.

His defence states that Mr Vavalidis, who was a successful banker, had wanted to reduce the number of clinicians involved in his care “given the nature of his professional lifestyle”.

Dr Wheeler’s defence states that when he took over prescribing the methotrexate, he was aware that Mr Vavalidis was established as stable on a dosage which was effective in controlling his psoriasis without side-effects.

Are regulators doing their undertaking?

Leigh Day’s heads of state of clinical negligence, Russell Levy, told BBC News: “I’ve been specialising in healthcare since 1985, and I’m clear that this is the worst case of echoed, long-lasting, negligent care that I’ve ever come across.

“This case too supports the GMC should proceed much quicker.

“It’s quite wrong that 18 months after the death, their own families still don’t know whether any fitness to practise proceedings will be fetched against Dr Wheeler.”

Sloane Street Surgery was deemed to meet all five indispensable criteria when it was last inspected by the Care Quality Commission( CQC) four years earlier.

The CQC said: “To year, we have not received direct notifications from the GMC, the practice, its patients, or others that give cause for concern about the safety and quality of care within the surgery as a whole.

“We have contacted the GMC seeing Dr Wheeler.

“Also, we have contacted the practice for assurance of how it checks patients who are on high risk medication.

“We will ascertain whether these best practices should have notified us of the unexpected deaths among the patient, in accordance with their duties as a regulated body.”

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