Doctor has suspension doubled for failing dying garda
A DOCTOR who failed to send a patient for further investigative surgery that would have given him up to a 95pc chance of survival has had his suspension doubled by the Irish Medical Council (IMC).
In July, a fitness-to-practise (FTP) hearing recommended that Dr Pat Lee (45) be suspended for three months. Dr Lee had failed to ensure that a garda received follow-up treatment after the removal of a suspicious leg mole. Dr Lee then attempted to conceal his mistake six years later when Superintendent Martin Dorney was diagnosed with malignant melanoma.
Last April, Supt Dorney was given between six and nine months to live.
Now, the Irish Independent has learned that the IMC has doubled Dr Lee's suspension to a six-month sanction.
Dr Lee, who is based in Ballincollig, Co Cork, must then work for a period of two years under strict supervision.
The FTP report followed an emotional hearing in Cork, where Supt Dorney, a father-of-three, outlined how his life was devastated by the failure to ensure he received proper follow-up care after the suspicious mole was removed from his leg in 2003.
Supt Dorney has since urged a total overhaul of Ireland's pathology system, warning that he doesn't want any other patient to suffer what he has endured.
"It is too late for me but I just hope it is not too late for somebody else," he said.
"I am not vindictive or bitter but I am concerned that this situation could reoccur and affect other patients in the devastating way that it has affected me."
Supt Dorney said that he has now accepted the apology of Dr Lee, with who he had been friendly for more than a decade.
"Dr Lee has apologised to me personally and I have accepted his apology," he added.
"(But) it seems to me that unless the system changes there are going to be more errors, and unfortunately more fatalities. The system that was adopted by Dr Lee, and the pathologists, is one that is capable of error," he warned.
After the dramatic FTP hearing, Dr Lee said he felt responsible for the pain and suffering that the Dorney family was now enduring.
"I feel a profound sense of anger and shame in myself for having allowed this situation to develop," he said. "I have caused them pain and I am responsible for the suffering they are going through. It was never my intention to cause this."