Brian Jamieson was secretary for Scottish Enterprise and a keen motor racer who died at the age of 59 following surgery to remove a bowel tumour at Ross Hall Hospital in Glasgow.
His widow Linda, 66, said she was heartbroken by her husband's death. She is now pursuing action against the surgeon, Ian Finlay, who is listed as one of the best doctors in the world, and the anaesthetist Dr Robin Duckworth.
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It is understood Mr Jamieson, who grew up in Kirkcaldy and Uddingston, was diagnosed with bowel cancer in January 2010 after a routine screening test. The opera lover had surgery to remove the tumour at Ross Hall, which is part of BMI Healthcare, the following month.
One day later he was apparently transferred to the Golden Jubilee National Hospital – now a flagship centre for NHS care – at Clydebank. While he was there Mr Jamieson was moved into the intensive care unit and he died on February 15.
Gerry Malone, a friend of Mr Jamieson since their days at Glasgow University and a former MP and health minister in England, said: "Brian's death caused a huge gap in the lives of all his friends and was devastating for his wife, Linda.
"The turnout at his funeral – about 500 – spoke volumes about his involvement in Scottish public life – not only as secretary of Scottish Enterprise, but as a former long-standing board member of the Glasgow School of Art, avid patron of Scottish Opera and keen motor racer at Knockhill circuit.
"Until the diagnosis of a cancerous tumour on the bowel in January 2010 Brian appeared fit and healthy.
"Over the 40-odd years I had known him I was not aware of a history of any serious medical condition. He kept himself in good condition to make the most of his passion – motor racing – unlike many of his contemporaries, including me."
The Herald was informed that earlier this month Court of Session summonses were served on agents for Mr Finlay and Mr Duckworth.
Mr Finlay is described on the BMI Healthcare website as an internationally recognised specialist in colorectal surgery and one of the few British clinicians to appear in a US list of the World's Best Doctors.
For a time he served with the Scottish Government as senior medical officer for revalidation – the process which ensures doctors are up-to-date with their skills and fit to practise.
He is credited with founding the Department of Coloproctology at Glasgow Royal Infirmary and has been responsible for the specialist training of many colorectal surgeons practising around the world.
Mrs Jamieson, who was married to Mr Jamieson for 30 years, said: "I was heartbroken by my husband's death. On legal advice I shall make no additional comment on the proceedings at this stage."
Mr Finlay said: "It would be inappropriate for me to comment due to patient confidentiality."
Mr Duckworth said he did not wish to comment.
A spokesman for BMI Healthcare said: "In the light of the ongoing legal proceedings we are unable to comment."