GP is accused of altering records after patient died
Published 16/01/2014 | 02:30
A GP has been accused of altering his medical records following the death of a 20-year-old hair stylist after he was told that she died from severe bronchial pneumonia -- not the gastric flu he had diagnosed the evening before, when she was so weak that she had to be carried into the surgery by her father.
The Medical Council heard that the doctor -- who it said should not be identified -- allegedly prescribed Motilium, an over-the-counter remedy for an upset stomach.
The doctor has denied a series of allegations against him.
Vicki Core, from Tallaght, died in an ambulance on the way to hospital despite frantic efforts by her mother Maureen and then by an ambulance crew to keep her alive.
After she had been prescribed Motilium, Ms Core was told she would start to feel better "within 72 hours", according to testimony from her father, Thomas.
He said he had to carry her into the surgery because she was too weak to walk.
But yesterday's inquiry heard allegations that additional notes were made to his medical records by the doctor after Ms Core's death.
The doctor did not highlight the additions to the notes as "retrospective additions", a Medical Council Fitness to Practise Committee Inquiry was told.
It is one of 11 allegations made against the GP, who can be known only as 'Dr A' after the Medical Council made a highly unusual behind-closed-doors ruling to protect the doctor's anonymity before public proceedings began yesterday.
The allegations against the Irish-born doctor include: that he failed to carry out a proper examination on Ms Core; that he failed to give adequate consideration to the symptoms she and her family were reporting to him; and that he failed to arrange for her to be transferred to hospital.
Dr A also faces the allegation that he altered his medical records after he became aware of Ms Core's death. He denies all of the allegations.
There was heartbreaking evidence from Vicki Core's mother and her father during the first day of the inquiry.
Maureen Core told the inquiry that her daughter had been feeling ill for a month previously and had been forced to take sick leave from her work at the John Adam hair and beauty salon in Rathmines.
Two nights before her death, Vicki was having difficulty breathing and was vomiting.
She rang the GP's surgery seeking a referral note to take Vicki straight to hospital but was told instead to bring her to the clinic.
"My husband took her down. I had to get her into fresh pyjamas." After she returned from her visit to the doctor's surgery, her daughter went to bed.
Maureen said her daughter's condition didn't change that night. "She just continued to vomit. If it had changed, it would have alerted us. My husband said Dr A said that was to be expected.
"The next morning, she was struggling to get into the shower, she said, 'I have to shower'.
"I went to phone an ambulance and as I was leaving the room there was a thud on the floor," a visibly upset Mrs Core explained.
The inquiry continues today.
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