Friday 9 December 2016

Doctor was 'very rude' to hysterectomy patient but didn't 'beat' her, inquiry hears

Sam Griffin

Published 22/07/2015 | 12:57

Consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr Peter Van Geene during the The Medical Council fitness-to-practise inquiry at Kingram House, Dublin
Consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr Peter Van Geene during the The Medical Council fitness-to-practise inquiry at Kingram House, Dublin
Dr. Peter Van Geene arrives at the fitness to practice enquiry at the medical council

A GYNAECOLOGIST who faces serious allegations of poor professional performance was “very rude” to a patient who had just undergone a serious operation but did not “beat” her, according to a nurse who cared for the patient.

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Staff nurse Catriona Kenny, who worked at  St Luke's hospital in August 2011, told a Medical Council fitness to practice inquiry that she was left with the impression Peter Van Geene had shown bad bedside manner in a meeting with Helen Cruise who has made allegations against the surgeon.

Helen Cruise
Helen Cruise

She was giving evidence on the third day of the inquiry into allegations made by four patients against the doctor.

Yesterday one of the patients, Helen Cruise, said she was shocked by Mr Van Geene’s manner during a meeting she had with him after he had performed a vaginal hysterectomy procedure and laparotomy on August 23 2011.

She had claimed the doctor had become aggressive and shouted “sue me, sue me, sue me” at her and slapped her hands and legs.

Ms Kenny today said she did not recall “any untoward physical touching”  but said “the impression left with me was that he was rude” and did not have a nice bedside manner.

She said on a scale of one to ten, his rudeness was about a seven or eight and that it was one of the most extreme cases of rudeness she has encountered.

She added she had no memory of Mr Van Geene mentioning any money or payment and didn’t report the behaviour in any medical notes.

She said looking back now, if the situation arose again, she would handle it differently.

In earlier evidence, it was alleged Mr Van Geene never spoke to the doctor treating Ms Cruise after the operation when she became severely ill

Dr Mohammad Akram, a general physician at Aut Even hospital in Kilkenny, told the inquiry how the condition of one patient, Helen Cruise, “deteriorated” after a vaginal hysterectomy procedure and laparotomy on August 23 2011.

He ordered blood tests and antibiotics and said he was concerned she would develop sepsis.

Read more: Doctor said he threw my womb in a bucket, mum tells inquiry

He said by August 26 the patient was suffering with congestion and fluid in her lungs and he "recommended" she should be transferred to St Luke’s hospital as the Aut Even hospital did not have an intensive care unit or a coronary care unit.

He said it was not his decision to order the transfer as Mr Van Geene was her primary physician and that he did not know who gave this order.

Mr Van Geene was working at a practice in Co Waterford at the time. The inquiry heard efforts were made to contact him and messages were left for him. But Dr Akram said he never spoke to Mr Van Geene before the patient was transferred to St Luke’s.

Under questioning, Dr Akram said the transfer of Ms Cruise had “nothing to do” with her receiving the operation in the private hospital under the National Treatment Purchase Fund.

Mr Van Geene’s lawyer said his client had no knowledge she had been transferred from Aut Even.

Yesterday, it was alleged Mr Van Geene had told Helen Cruise he had thrown her womb "into a bucket on the floor" during a hysterectomy, and later angrily shouted "sue me, sue me, sue me" when she asked him about the procedure.

Ms Cruise said Mr Van Geene has "ruined her life" and recalled her terror after the operation that took place in August 2011 in the Aut Even hospital in Co Kilkenny.

Mother-of-seven Ms Cruise, from the Kilkenny area, said she suffered "horrific" treatment and suffers from chronic pain and incontinence today and uses a walking stick.

The claims will be disputed by Mr Van Geene.

The inquiry is continuing.

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