Wednesday 23 August 2017

Efforts to resuscitate dying patient sitting in chair 'futile', inquiry told

Edel O'Connell

AN attempt by a doctor to resuscitate a dying patient while he was seated in a chair has been described as "futile" by an expert witness.

Dr George Dimitrov Georgiev (56), from South Africa, is facing six allegations of professional misconduct and/or poor professional performance taken against him by the Irish Medical Council (IMC).

Yesterday a fitness-to-practise inquiry heard how Dr Georgiev carried out 15 chest compressions on a critically ill patient, John Dunne, who was slumped in an armchair.

The late patient's wife, Elizabeth Dunne, of Bluebell Road, west Dublin, told of her anguish as she alleged the doctor failed to adequately inform her that her husband was in the final moments of his life.

She also alleged the doctor left the family home in the immediate aftermath of Mr Dunne's death and, when asked by her son if he would help with the body, said: "Find an elderly neighbour, they know best."

Dr Georgiev, who has 27 years' experience as a medical practitioner, began working as a locum in Ireland in 2008 after registering with the IMC's general division of registered medical practitioners.

He witnessed yesterday's proceedings via a live video link-up from South Africa.

He did not give evidence at the hearing, but is expected to address the committee today.

The IMC has alleged Dr Georgiev, who worked for Contractors Medical Bureau in Dublin in 2009, failed to explain to the family that Mr Dunne was in a critical condition.

Concerned

He had been called to the Dunne household on the night of July 2, 2009, when Mrs Dunne became concerned by her husband's laboured breathing. He arrived at the house at about 5am and attended to Mr Dunne.

Mrs Dunne's daughter, Frances Magee, said that the doctor told her to remove her mother from the room twice, while he was tending the patient, who had a heart attack.

The doctor claimed he went outside to tell his driver to call an ambulance, but soon cancelled it when he discovered Mr Dunne had passed away.

It is not clear, however, how soon after his arrival the doctor called for an ambulance.

Subsequently Mrs Dunne, and Ms Magee, complained to the IMC about Dr Georgiev's behaviour. Ms Magee said she only realised her father had died when the doctor tapped her on the shoulder to inform her he had cancelled the ambulance.

"I asked him, 'Why did you cancel the ambulance? Is my dad dead?' To which he replied 'Yes', before making to leave," she said. Expert witness for the IMC, Prof Bradley described Dr Georgiev's attempt to resuscitate the patient while he was slumped in a chair as "futile".

However, he conceded there was little the doctor could have done to resuscitate the patient at that stage.

Prof Bradley said the manner in which the doctor interacted with the family in the immediate aftermath of Mr Dunne's death could amount to poor professional performance.

Dr Georgiev, in a letter to the council, apologised to the family for causing any distress and explained he had no experience of dealing with "cadavers" or dead bodies and believed he had acted appropriately.

The hearing continues today.

Irish Independent

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