A DOCTOR has been found guilty of poor professional performance arising out of her care of a woman who had a potentially fatal "melon-sized" internal growth on her hip.
A Medical Council fitness-to-practise inquiry found that Dr Tonya Timmons, who was working as a GP at the Coolock Health Centre in Dublin at the time, failed to meet the standard of competence that can reasonably be expected of a GP.
However, it was only when Ms Kelly went to Beaumont Hospital that doctors discovered she was suffering from a very rare and potentially fatal infectious growth on her pelvis.
Delivering its decision yesterday, the inquiry team found Dr Timmons had failed to conduct an adequate examination of Ms Kelly during a consultation on or around September 16, 2011.
It also found that, in respect of another consultation on or around October 4 that year, Dr Timmons had failed to give "adequate consideration" to any other diagnosis apart from sciatica in circumstances where that diagnosis was not entirely consistent with the symptoms. It further found that she had failed to carry out or arrange appropriate investigations to establish the correct diagnosis.
It said that Dr Timmons was guilty of poor professional performance in relation to each of the three allegations.
The Medical Council will now consider the inquiry's report and decide if any sanctions are taken against the GP.
On a previous day of the hearing, Ms Kelly told the inquiry that she initially saw Dr Timmons on two occasions in August 2011 suffering from back pain. The GP diagnosed her as suffering from a suspected urinary tract infection.
Ms Kelly visited Dr Timmons again in September with continued pain in her back, pain in her groin, dizziness and weight loss.
Ms Kelly told the inquiry that the GP said she was suffering from sciatica.
However, Ms Kelly said that by the time she visited Dr Timmons again on October 4, her lips had turned blue, she was having difficulty walking and had fainted a number of times. She said the GP gave her a prescription for painkillers.
Two weeks later, Ms Kelly attended Beaumont Hospital where tests revealed she was suffering from intra-abdominal actinomycosis – an infectious mass on her pelvis which was blocking her ureter, a tube leading from the kidney to the bladder.
By the time the potentially fatal infection was found, the growth was the size of a melon and Ms Kelly required an emergency procedure to drain her bladder and was on very high doses of an intravenous antibiotic for weeks.