Thursday 18 December 2014

Doctor guilty of misconduct in two cases last year

Published 22/01/2014 | 02:30

Dr Gerry Rafferty
Dr Gerry Rafferty

AN obstetrician who apologised to a couple whose son died in a leading private hospital was last year found guilty of professional misconduct in the cases of two different women.

Dr Gerry Rafferty, pictured, known for his flamboyance and for driving an Italian Maserati sports car, was found guilty of five separate allegations of professional misconduct by a Medical Council Fitness to Practise Committee Inquiry in relation to the treatment of two women.

Five other allegations that were made against him at the same hearing were not proven.

One of the women, Michelle Howe, told the inquiry how she had to be rushed to hospital for surgery to remove a section of a fallopian tube.

She said she made the complaint against Dr Rafferty "so the same thing never happens to another woman".

The inquiry heard that less than 24 hours after she was assured by Dr Rafferty that her pregnancy was "non-continuing" but not ectopic, her husband had to rush her to hospital where she underwent an emergency procedure to remove a section of her fallopian tube.

An ectopic pregnancy is where an embryo develops outside the womb.

Ms Howe told the inquiry in April last year that the following day Dr Rafferty "came in and sat down" and said "so it was an ectopic pregnancy".

Ms Howe told the inquiry that Dr Rafferty then told her: "The outcome would have been the same."

"I told him I wouldn't have had to have emergency surgery and a blood transfusion, my life had been put at risk and a lot of stuff was unavoidable," she said in evidence.

The Fitness To Practise Committee of the Medical Council found that four allegations in relation to Dr Rafferty's treatment of Ms Howe were proven as to fact and constituted professional misconduct.

Another allegation of professional misconduct was also found proven in relation to the treatment of another patient, Cathy Coyle.

He failed to refer her to a urologist following tests that showed one of her kidneys was not working properly.

The tests were carried out after a hysterectomy Dr Rafferty performed on Ms Coyle in July 2007, during which she sustained damage to her ureter, a tube that links the kidneys with the bladder.

The following year a urologist at St James's Hospital discovered that one of her kidneys had permanently ceased functioning. During the case, Dr Rafferty had denied all but one of the allegations but the Fitness to Practise Committee stated that it found Dr Rafferty's evidence to be "inconsistent and lacking in credibility in significant respects".

The decision of the Fitness to Practise Committee was forwarded on to the board of the Medical Council to decide on what sanction to impose on Dr Rafferty.

The case subsequently came before the High Court in Dublin which confirmed the Medical Council Board's sanction that Dr Rafferty be allowed to continue to practise with the provision that he must comply with a number of undisclosed conditions.

Irish Independent

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