Baby's family concerned in days after birth, inquiry told
Published 18/04/2015 | 02:30
The family of a child with cerebral palsy felt concerned in the days following his birth, a fitness-to-practise inquiry was told.
Expert witnesses appeared before the Medical Council inquiry as the case into Dr Mohammad Ilyas Khan continued.
Dr Khan faces allegations of poor professional performance, specifically in relation to a two-year-old boy, referred to as 'BT', who was born on June 15, 2012.
BT's mother made the complaint against Dr Khan, who was practising as a locum consultant paediatrician in South Tipperary General Hospital in Clonmel at the time.
It is claimed that Dr Khan did not put an adequate treatment plan in place following that baby's birth and diagnosis of hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy (hypoxia).
It is alleged he failed to make sufficient arrangements so that the baby could receive hypothermic or "cooling" treatment.
BT has since been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, the result of lack of oxygen to his brain during his birth. He receives ongoing physical therapy.
Witnesses yesterday gave the inquiry a picture of the care that baby BT received throughout the first few days of his life.
Dr Elizabeth O'Mahony, a paediatric neurology consultant in Limerick, addressed the inquiry in her capacity as a friend of the baby's family.
She had spoken with the baby's aunt, who is also a doctor, throughout the weekend following the baby's birth.
Dr O'Mahony said: "It was clear from those phone calls that there were concerns from the family."
Dr O'Mahony said that she was happy to gather information from the medical team, which she would then relay to the family. She told the inquiry that at that point the family felt that they were having trouble getting a full picture as to the baby's condition.
Dr O'Mahony spoke over the phone with Dr Khan on Saturday, June 16. She said that Dr Khan told her "the baby's fine".
She cannot remember whether they spoke about cooling treatment. "It was an unusual conversation... There wasn't a lot of flow so I asked a lot of statement questions."
Dr John Murphy, consultant neonatologist at Holles Street, gave further insight into the hypothermic or cooling treatment. "It's a big thing to cool a baby," he said, "so a senior person needs to make the decision".
Different factors go into deciding whether cooling treatment is appropriate - including seizures, body tone and neurological issues.
Rachel O'Hickey, a seasoned registered nurse who was part of the team that resuscitated the baby immediately after birth, told the inquiry that she believed they did well to stabilise the baby.
Midwife Brid O'Mahony spoke highly of Dr Khan, saying: "I have the highest regard for his care with this baby."
Paediatric registrar Dr Alan Clark said: "I would 110pc say that Dr Khan is the most caring, diligent consultant that I have ever worked with."
Dr Khan is due to speak before the inquiry when it continues next month.