Surgeon denies litany of errors in treatment of mum who died
A CONSULTANT surgeon has been accused of a litany of failings in relation to the treatment of a pregnant woman -- who later lost her baby -- before dying herself.
Dr Syed Naqvi was brought before a Medical Council fitness-to-practise hearing yesterday to face 11 allegations in relation to the care of Tina Sherlock (39).
Mrs Sherlock, who was in her 14th pregnancy, lost her baby on July 15, 2008 and died herself almost five months later.
The mother of 13 was 17 weeks pregnant when she visited the A&E department of the Mid-West Regional Hospital in Ennis, Co Clare, on June 22, 2008, complaining of pain in her right side.
The inquiry heard she visited the hospital twice in June and medical staff considered a diagnosis of acute cholecystitis or an inflamed gall bladder. She was also transferred on to the Mid-Western Regional Maternity Hospital, Limerick, and the Mid-Western Regional Hospital, Dooradoyle, Limerick.
Ultimately, the inquiry heard she was diagnosed in November -- almost five months after she first presented at the hospital -- as suffering from a 'mass' in her appendix. This followed CT scan results on November 18, 2008.
In the meantime, she had lost the baby girl due to sepsis on July 15, 2008. Mrs Sherlock, from Childers Road in Ennis, died from multi-organ failure due to sepsis on December 10, 2008. This followed three operations at the hospital.
Mr Naqvi, a consultant surgeon at the hospital in Ennis, faced 11 allegations of professional misconduct and/or poor professional performance before the committee inquiry.
An allegation that he failed to consider acute appendicitis as a possible diagnosis was withdrawn.
The inquiry heard he would be defending all the allegations.
Mrs Sherlock's husband, James (44) told how his children, ranging in age from eight to 25, had been suffering since the death of his wife of 22 years.
"My family has been devastated since Martina passed away and every day has been a struggle," he said.
Mr Sherlock told how their baby girl had lived for "20 to 25 minutes" before passing away that July.
Mr Sherlock said of his wife: "She was an absolute lady. The only thing she cared about was her children and her home."
Among the allegations were that Mr Naqvi carried out an extensive resection of her bowel -- her third operation -- on December 8, 2008, when it was not appropriate.
It is also alleged he failed to ensure she was adequately resuscitated following the operation and to arrange a transfer to the regional hospital in Limerick within an adequate time period.
The council's expert witness, UK consultant surgeon Anthony Peel, was critical of numerous aspects of the operations, and pointed out that the ultrasound scans did not support the diagnosis of inflammation of the gall bladder.
He said she should have been transferred to Limerick regional before the final operation was carried out in Ennis.
The inquiry heard that in 2005, when Mr Naqvi began working at the hospital, there were three surgeons. By 2008, his two colleagues had retired and were not replaced.
His colleagues had written to the Minister for Health and the Medical Council seeking advice about a lack of consultant staff and inadequate surgical facilities.
However, Eileen Barrington SC, for Mr Naqvi, said: "Regrettably no steps were taken."
The inquiry also heard in late 2008 that HIQA had been asked to investigate Ennis hospital, and the following April had reported it was unsafe to continue complex surgery there.
In September 2009, the A&E was closed and Mr Naqvi transferred to the regional hospital in Limerick.
Ms Barrington pointed out that the patient was seen by a significant number of practitioners at three hospitals -- Ennis, the maternity hospital in Limerick and in the regional in Limerick.
The CT scan was requested by Ennis to Limerick regional on September 12, 2008 and the results were received on November 18. The medic who performed the scan said he did not receive the request until September 25.
She said there was "undoubtedly a delay in obtaining the CT scan" and Mr Naqvi bore no responsibility for that.