Courts

Wednesday 30 July 2014

Surgeon in bid to quash findings over lip-op toddler

Tim Healy

Published 18/12/2012|05:00

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A SURGEON is challenging a Medical Council finding of poor professional performance after the wrong operation was carried out on a toddler.

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The two-and-a-half-year-old girl suffered an unnecessary tongue-tie operation at Our Lady's Children's Hospital in Crumlin in April 2010.

The operation was performed by registrar Dr Fahran Tareen, to whom Professor Martin Corbally had delegated.

Prof Corbally has brought a High Court case after a Medical Council fitness-to-practise committee probed the incident.

The child had a tongue-tie operation, known in medical terms as a lingual frenulectomy, which involved releasing the fold of skin beneath her tongue.

But what she needed was an upper labial frenulectomy to release the fold of skin attaching her upper lip to her gum.

She subsequently had the correct operation.

Prof Corbally has brought the court challenge on several grounds – including that the allegations of poor professional performance against him were not proven beyond a reasonable doubt, and are unreasonable and irrational.

Prof Corbally, of Island View, Corballis, Donabate, Co Dublin, also argues the committee erred in its interpretation of the term "poor professional performances" in the findings against him.

Prof Corbally was previously at the centre of controversy after a six-year-old boy under his care had the wrong kidney removed in Crumlin in 2008, but no findings were made against him.

But last October, the inquiry committee held that Prof Corbally, as a paediatric surgeon at Crumlin Hospital, had incorrectly described the procedure required by the girl in his notes.

It also found that Prof Corbally, who is currently working in Bahrain, further failed to communicate adequately to Dr Tareen, and failed to apply appropriate standards of clinical judgment expected from a surgeon with his experience.

Allegation

The committee determined the allegations amounted to poor professional performance and recommended to the Medical Council that it impose a sanction of admonishment or censure on Prof Corbally.

But in his court action against the Medical Council and the Attorney General, Prof Corbally is seeking various orders quashing the three findings and the sanction recommendation.

Eileen Barrington, for Prof Corbally, said it was their case that the committee had erred in its interpretation of poor professional performance in finding that a once-off or single error or human error could constitute poor professional performance.

Leave to bring the challenge was granted yesterday, on an ex-parte (one-side only) basis, by Mr Justice Michael Peart. The judge made the matter returnable to February.

Irish Independent

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