Tuesday 17 January 2017

Doctor previously expressed concerns about finding adequate emergency theatre staff after hours, inquiry hears

*Inquiry into the care of three women in childbirth by consultant obstetrician

Liz Farsaci

Published 11/11/2016 | 13:07

Dr Salah Abdel-Aziz Ahmed, a consultant obstetrician leaves a fitness to practice enquiry by the medical council at Finnstown House in Lucan. Picture credit: Damien Eagers
Dr Salah Abdel-Aziz Ahmed, a consultant obstetrician leaves a fitness to practice enquiry by the medical council at Finnstown House in Lucan. Picture credit: Damien Eagers

An inquiry into the care of three women in childbirth by a consultant obstetrician has heard that the doctor expressed concerns in 2012 about delays in finding adequate emergency theatre staff in after-hours situations.

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Dr Salah Aziz Ahmed faces allegations of poor professional performance and professional misconduct relating to three mothers who gave birth at Cavan General Hospital between November 2012 and April 2014.

A Medical Council inquiry which began on Thursday continued today in Lucan, Co. Dublin.

Yesterday the inquiry heard details involving one of the patients, a 37-year-old woman, referred to as Patient One, whose baby passed away 32 hours after he was born.

The baby was born by emergency caesarean section on 22 November 2012 and it is alleged that Dr Aziz failed to proceed to the section in a timely manner.

The inquiry has already heard that the cause of death in the case of Patient One's baby does not form any part of the allegations.

This morning, the former director general at Cavan General Hospital, Bridget Clarke, spoke of the seriousness of a baby’s death.

“Whenever you have a baby death, it’s one of the most serious things that can happen in hospital care,” she said.

On the night of 22 November, when Dr Aziz decided that Patient One’s baby should be born by caesarean section, another woman was having an elective section in one of the theatres.

Ms Clarke said this other mother was scheduled for an elective surgery, and did not fall into an emergency category. Ultimately, because of the timing of this surgery, an additional theatre had to open in order to facilitate Patient One’s emergency section.

Dr Aziz and his consultant colleagues wrote to Ms Clarke on 30 November 2012, expressing their concern about finding adequate emergency theatre staff, particularly in after-hours situations when more than one theatre was needed.

Ms Clarke told the inquiry that she has never experienced a delay in opening an additional theatre, if one is needed in an emergency situation, or in sourcing additional emergency theatre staff.

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