A DOCTOR is being investigated for allegedly attempting to read an X-ray while holding it upside down and trying to cut open a patient's hand with a scalpel in order to insert a tube.
Dr Vincent Osunkwo, who worked in the Midland Regional Hospital in Portlaoise and in Our Lady's Children's Hospital in Crumlin in Dublin, is also accused of telling a colleague that scans performed on a patient's kidneys were "fine" when they in fact showed multiple abnormalities.
The Medical Council is investigating Dr Osunkwo over multiple allegations of poor professional practice and/or professional misconduct arising from his treatment of patients at the Midland Regional Hospital, Portlaoise.
These include: that he asked a nurse whether a patient's pulse reading of 165 beats per minute was high; that he was unable to identify the nasal bone in an X-ray when asked to do so; and that he informed a member of his team that a patient had a benign prostate condition when this was not the case.
An inquiry into Dr Osunkwo's treatment of patients was adjourned yesterday due to his failure to attend.
A barrister representing the CEO of the Medical Council, who is taking the case against Dr Osunkwo, told the fitness-to- practise inquiry that he has returned to his native Nigeria.
In a letter, Dr Osunkwo told council solicitors that he had been refused entry to Ireland on four occasions and so was unable to defend himself.
Solicitor Barry Fagan gave evidence that the last contact Dr Osunkwo made was in July 2013 and since that date he has failed to reply to correspondence.
The inquiry heard that Dr Osunkwo had been a qualified doctor for 10 years and had previously worked in Crumlin Children's Hospital before commencing work as a senior house officer in Portlaoise on February 18, 2009.
Concerns were first raised about his practices less than three weeks later.
Yesterday's hearing was adjourned to a yet-to-be-decided date following consultations between the fitness-to-practise committee members and the committee's legal assessor.
Chairperson Declan Carey said the committee was concerned about attempts by Dr Osunkwo to get a visa for Ireland and whether it could be established that he had made these attempts.
He also stated that the committee felt video conferencing was not offered to Dr Osunkwo and that it would be interesting to hear what his response would be.
Mr Carey adjourned the hearing until these matters have been addressed.
A spokeswoman for Portlaoise Hospital said it would not be commenting while the hearing is ongoing.