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Cancer test pathologist is found guilty of misconduct

A LOCUM pathologist at the centre of a cancer misdiagnosis controversy has been found guilty of professional misconduct by the Medical Council's fitness to practice committee.

After a two-day hearing, the committee recommended to the Medical Council that Dr Antoine Geagea (59), who lives in Finland, should be censured and that he must not carry out non-gynaecological cystology or pathology work unless supervised by a council-approved pathologist.

Dr Geagea, who was employed as a locum at University College Hospital Galway (UCHG) from September 4 2006 until March 30, 2007, faced two charges of professional misconduct. The committee found both charges had been proven.

Yesterday's hearing follows the case of a Tipperary woman, referred to as 'patient A', whose breast cancer was initially missed by an unnamed pathologist at UCHG, in September 2005, and by Dr Geagea in March 2007.

The misdiagnosis led to a report by the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) into Dr Geagea's work, which found that 50 patients were wrongly analysed in the hospital laboratory. This resulted in an 18-month delay in the diagnosis of patient A's cancer.

Fitness to practice committee chairman Dr Richard Brennan said they were recommending to the Medical Council that Dr Geagea should be censured.

The committee also recommended he must work with a person nominated by the Medical Council to address deficiencies in his work.


It was also recommended that Dr Geagea should not practice medicine unless he provided medical reports from a practitioner acceptable to the council, as well as evidence of ongoing medical education.

Earlier, a consultant pathologist who reviewed Dr Geagea's work said he "made too many mistakes".

Dr Elaine Kay, a consultant histopathologist at Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, told the hearing that, of the 50 cases looked at by HIQA, she found 39 were erroneous and the standard of reporting was not high enough.

Despite Dr Geagea's complaints that junior doctors drafted reports on the cases, it was the his responsibility to issue the correct diagnosis.

Another witness, consultant pathologist Dr Mary Casey, said hospital staff had arranged a farewell reception for Dr Geagea on his last day of work -- March 28, 2007 -- but he "never showed up for his own farewell reception".

Irish Independent