Doctor cleared of failing to examine patient adequately
Published 16/02/2012 | 05:00
A DOCTOR has been cleared of a charge of failing to adequately examine an elderly, blind patient during a house call two days before he died.
Dr Anthony Enobo Akpekpe (52) had diagnosed 74-year-old Patrick Lowe, who had been suffering vomiting and cramps in 2010, with a stomach bug.
He later died after inhaling faecal matter as a result of an acute blockage of the bowel caused by a hernia.
Yesterday, Dr Akpekpe was cleared of five charges of poor professional performance at a Medical Council fitness to practise hearing.
However, a separate allegation that he failed to obtain an adequate medical history during his visit was upheld.
Dr Akpekpe visited Mr Lowe in Monkstown, Dublin, on September 13, 2010, when he was working for the locum service Doctors on Duty.
Mr Lowe had epilepsy and had been left blind and suffering from brain damage following a bad fall in 1999.
His sister and carer, Elizabeth Lowe, had taken a detailed note of Dr Akpekpe's treatment of her brother an hour after the visit and later made a complaint to the Medical Council.
Dr Akpekpe was consequently accused of failing to adequately examine his patient, failing to obtain an adequate medical history and of adequately communicating that if his condition deteriorated Ms Lowe should seek immediate medical assistance.
He was also charged with providing records of his visit to the council that differed from those he had originally furnished to Mr Lowe's GP, failing to maintain adequate records and failing to identify himself properly.
The hearing heard that Dr Akpekpe had allegedly introduced himself as 'Dr John', had not written down his registration number and had signed with an illegible signature.
Dr Akpekpe gave evidence, vigorously defending himself against the charges. He said that he had added to his notes that night, as he often did.
He prescribed medication for a stomach bug and told Ms Lowe that if it did not stop her brother from vomiting that he should go to hospital.
He said Mr Lowe had a good colour, that he was not in distress and that, on inspection, his abdomen appeared to be slightly swollen but that Ms Lowe could not tell him if that was normal. He also checked his blood pressure and pulse.