Saturday 19 August 2017

Doctor in brain injury case will keep working

Mr Justice Peter Kelly
Mr Justice Peter Kelly

Tim Healy

An anaesthetist responsible for "serious failures" in the care of a man who suffered a catastrophic brain injury during surgery will continue to work at Santry Sports Clinic.

President of the High Court Mr Justice Peter Kelly confirmed sanctions recommended by the Medical Council for Dr Deirdre Lohan Mannion.

He said they were considered proportionate, and adequately protected the public without need to suspend her.

The sanctions censure Dr Lohan Mannion and permit her to remain on the medical register, and continue her private practice at Santry Sports Clinic on conditions. She must inform her employers of those but is not required to tell individual patients.

It arose from her care of then 46-year-old Frank Cowan at the Santry clinic in September 2014.

A lawyer and father-of-two from Clonee, Co Meath, he suffered a catastrophic hypoxic brain injury when he failed to regain consciousness after receiving an anaesthetic during elective surgery for chronic neck pain. He is now completely dependent and has to be tube fed.

Mr Cowan previously settled a negligence action for €7.1m. It was brought through his wife Janette against Dr Lohan Mannion, who admitted liability.

Following a complaint by Mr Cowan's GP about his anaesthetic management, Dr Lohan Mannion admitted two counts of professional misconduct and five of poor professional performance before a Fitness to Practice Committee of the Medical Council.

Those included twice leaving Mr Cowan while under anaesthetic. She first left him to talk to a secretary.

On the second occasion, when he had unrecordable blood pressure, she left him in the care of an anaesthetic nurse to go for a coffee.

Mr Justice Kelly said this care of Mr Cowan was subject to "devastating criticism" by Dr Anna Maria Rollin, a UK consultant anaesthetist.

Apart from Mr Cowan's case, the court heard Dr Lohan Mannion has never, in her 30 years as a consultant, been subject to civil litigation or any other complaint to the Medical Council in relation to her clinical care.

She had provided "very laudatory" testimonials from other doctors and the Santry Clinic was "fully supportive" of her.

Mr Justice Kelly said he could only refuse to confirm the proposed sanctions if he took the view no reasonable Medical Council could have decided on the sanctions and that "high threshold" had not been achieved.

He added that the court must confirm the sanction unless it sees "good reason" not to do so and the phrase "good reason" has to be given a restricted meaning.

Irish Independent

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