News Courts

Saturday 30 August 2014

‘No evidence of impending catastrophic events when Vicki Core saw doctor’

Published 17/02/2014 | 12:05

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Collect pic of Vicki Core.
Collect pic by Steve Humphreys
15th January 2014.
Vicki Core

AN expert witness giving evidence to a Medical Council Fitness to Practise Committee in the case of a doctor accused of professional misconduct following a young woman's death said GPs are working in a "dysfunctional health system."

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Trainee hair stylist Vicki Core (20), from Tallaght, Dublin, died on July 1, 2007 in an ambulance on the way to hospital from cardiac arrest linked to bronchial pneumonia, a post mortem revealed.

Less than 24 hours before she collapsed at her home, she had visited a walk-in clinic and was attended by 'Dr A', who cannot be named until a ruling.

It was claimed previously at the inquiry that she was told she had gastric flu and 'Dr A', it is alleged, prescribed Motilium, an over the counter drug used to treat stomach upsets.

The following morning Ms Core collapsed at home in Tallaght and died on the way to hospital.

'Dr A' originally faced 11 allegations of professional misconduct in relation to his treatment of Ms Core when she visited his surgery on June 30 2007.

However on the second day of the inquiry six of the 11 allegations of professional misconduct were withdrawn.

Expert witness Dr Stephen Murphy, a GP with a practice in Cabinteely, Dublin gave evidence to the committee this morning and said it seemed to him that there "appeared to be no evidence of the catastrophic events that took place the following day" when Ms Core attended the walk in surgery on Saturday.

He said in his opinion there was two incidents. A malaise that occurred over a few weeks, and an acute event which took place over a day or two.

"It is my opinion that Dr A did not fall short and certainly did not fall seriously short of any of the allegations," he said.

However, regarding the abdominal examination of Ms Core he said if it was conducted with the patient sitting on a chair it was "not an optimal examination, no."

"It wouldn't be a perfect exam if the patient was sitting down," he said.

He also said GPs work within a "dysfunctional health system" and  very few investigations, such as blood tests, can be ordered urgently and there are "virtually none that can be ordered on a Saturday."

The remaining allegations include that 'Dr A' failed to carry out all appropriate examinations of Ms Core and or failed to carry out one or more examinations in a competent manner; failed to carry out and/or arrange appropriate investigations; failed to give adequate consideration to other more serious diagnoses or failed to reach a differential diagnosis; failed to give adequate consideration to the symptoms Ms Core was suffering from as reported by her and the members of her family and failed to arrange a follow-up consultation.

The inquiry is ongoing.

Fiona Ellis

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