Police appeal for Birmingham heart surgeon’s stolen glasses to be returned

Doctor’s magnifying loupes – needed to perform life-saving surgery – will take six weeks to replace

Police have launched an urgent appeal to find a heart surgeon’s operating glasses that were stolen from his car, leaving him unable to carry out procedures for weeks.

Stephen Rooney uses his magnifying glasses, or loupes, to perform life-saving surgery at the Queen Elizabeth hospital in Birmingham.

They were stolen from his car outside the hospital on Saturday, and police said as only a few companies in the world made them, it would take about six weeks to get a replacement pair.

Stephen Rooney
Stephen Rooney Photograph: EACTS

During this time Rooney, a consultant cardiac surgeon, would not be able to conduct any heart operations.

Police said the glasses were custom-designed for Rooney and would be of no use to anyone else.

West Midlands police said: “Because of how crucial the glasses are to his work, we’re appealing for help to get them back. Our priority is for the glasses to be returned to the hospital, and we are appealing directly to the people who’ve taken them to do the right thing and take them back.”

Loupes are small magnification devices that can be mounted on to glasses, and they are commonly used by surgeons for carrying out delicate procedures.

They are custom-made for the individual surgeon based on their corrected vision, the distance between pupils and their desired focal distance.

“The loupes are absolutely essential for carrying out painstaking, intricate heart procedures,” the police said.

The stolen glasses have a black frame and “Stephen Rooney” engraved into the arms. They were in a black and aluminium box, also with Rooney’s name on it, when they were taken.

A folding golf cart was also stolen from the passenger footwell of the car.

West Midlands police are urging anyone with information that could help to contact them via Live Chat 8am – midnight or call 101 anytime. To remain 100% anonymous contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, quoting crime number 20/1734004/21.


Jessica Murray Midlands correspondent

The GuardianTramp

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