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Tuesday 16 September 2014

Doctor tells hearing that colleague 'failed patient' who later died

Published 02/04/2014 | 13:58

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Dr. Sardar Ali from Galway who is the subject of a Medical Council. Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.
Dr. Sardar Ali from Galway who is the subject of a Medical Council. Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin.

A leading medical expert has sharply criticised a colleague's alleged failure to investigate the cause of an elderly man's blood disorder which ultimately led to his death.

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Dr Michael Keane, a professor of medicine at UCD and respiratory consultant at St Vincent's Hospital in Dublin, is giving evidence as an expert witness in a Fitness to Practise hearing of the Irish Medical Council today. 

Appearing on behalf of the council, Prof Keane said he supports the four allegations of poor professional conduct lodged against respiratory consultant Dr Sardar Ali.

The council also alleges that Dr Ali, originally from Pakistan, failed to meet the standards of competency expected of his position in his treatment of 78-year-old Roy Eyre at Roscommon County Hospital.

Dr Ali, who is representing himself, denies the allegations.

Mr Eyre, a former publican from London who was living in Ballinlough, Co Roscommon, died at the hospital on April 6, 2011 following his admission there on March 14, 2011.

The inquiry heard that Mr Eyre was already suffering from a range of serious conditions when he was admitted to hospital, including Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, liver and kidney disease, gout and a blood disorder called haemochromatosis which results in an iron overload. He had also previously suffered a stroke and had an episode of deep vein thrombosis in one leg.

However, the inquiry heard this morning that it took 13 days, by which time Mr Eyre was gravely ill, before he was diagnosed with thrombocytopenia, a condition characterised by a low blood platelet count, which can lead to spontaneous bleeding or delayed blood clotting.

A coroner's report cited acute thrombocytopenia as the main cause of death as well as other complicating factors.

Numerous blood tests performed on Mr Eyre following his admission confirmed Mr Eyre's platelet levels were dangerously low - at one point plunging to 21 the same day he was vomiting blood - despite a normal range of between 140 and 450, the inquiry heard.

Dr Ali is accused of failure to give adequate consideration to one or more conditions that might have caused Mr Eyre's low platelet level, failure to carry out investigations into his platelet count, failure to appreciate the gravity of his diagnosis of thrombocytopenia and failure to provide a treatment plan for the condition.

Prof Keane said he agrees with the allegations.

He said Dr Ali's alleged failure to consider and investigate the cause of Mr Eyre's low platelet levels is a serious matter.

"I think it's a very serious omission," he told the hearing.

While it may not have saved Mr Eyre's life, it might have changed how he was managed, he said.

"I would think that with the gravity of trombocytopenia or potential complications, it should have been considered," he said.

The hearing continues.

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