Wednesday 7 December 2016

Medical Council to give verdict against gynaecologist Peter Van Geene

Sam Griffin

Published 21/10/2015 | 11:28

21/07/2015 Consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr Peter Van Geene during the The Medical Council fitness-to-practise inquiry at Kingram House, Dublin. The consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist is facing allegations of poor professional performance in the case of four women who underwent hysterectomies at Aut Even private hospital in Kilkenny. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
21/07/2015 Consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr Peter Van Geene during the The Medical Council fitness-to-practise inquiry at Kingram House, Dublin. The consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist is facing allegations of poor professional performance in the case of four women who underwent hysterectomies at Aut Even private hospital in Kilkenny. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Patient Helen Cruise, who waived her right to anonymity at the hearing

THE MEDICAL Council committee hearing allegations of poor professional performance against gynaecologist Peter Van Geene has risen to consider its verdict.

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The surgeon faces a series of allegations made by four former patients of his on whom he performed hysterectomies while he was working in the Aut Even Hospital in Co Kilkenny between April 2009 and October 2011.

Patient Helen Cruise, who waived her right to anonymity at the hearing
Patient Helen Cruise, who waived her right to anonymity at the hearing

Dr Van Geene, who qualified in the UK, is disputing the allegations and gave evidence during the nine day fitness-to-practise inquiry.

The inquiry heard evidence from all four patients - each of whom fell seriously after the procedure was carried out. Two patients required six units of blood to be transferred after suffering post operative bleeding.

Helen Cruise, the only patient to waive her right to anonymity, alleged that the surgeon had blamed her for the bleeding and later shouted: “Sue me, sue me, sue me” during an angry confrontation afterwards where she said he also struck her.

It was also alleged that Dr Van Geene had failed to properly get consent form Ms Cruise and failed to refer to the complications in Ms Cruise’s discharge forms.

Giving his closing argument this morning, Eugene Gleeson SC for Dr Van Geene, said the allegations by Ms Cruise were “ferociously serious” and were “disgraceful” and had not been proven beyond all reasonable doubt.

In the case of Patient A, it was alleged that the procedure was unjustified among other complaints while allegations by Patient B and Patient C relate to the complications experienced after the hysterectomies were carried out.

The inquiry also heard from expert witnesses who reviewed the case.

Dr Peter McKenna, former Master at the Rotunda Hospital, said the levels of blood loss were exceptional and said such complications to occur in three patients was uncommon.

He also said in his view hysterectomies should not have been carried in the case of Helen Cruise and Patient A.

However, former master at the National Maternity Hospital Dr Peter Boylan, called to give expert testimony by Eugene Gleeson, said  the hysterectomy was justified in the case of Patient A.

The committee will reconvene at 2.30pm.

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