Monday 18 December 2017

Consultant had 'good rapport' with patient in pain claim

Shane Hickey

A MEDICAL consultant accused of mismanaging a patient's pain relief has said she had a "very good rapport" with the man who subsequently made the allegations against her.

Four of the seven allegations of professional misconduct against Dr Dympna Waldron, a consultant in palliative medicine at University College Hospital Galway (UCHG), were dropped yesterday due to a lack of evidence.

Paul Clarke, of Kilkelly, Co Mayo, had written a letter of complaint to the Irish Medical Council (IMC) about the standard of care he received under her after being admitted to UCHG on April 27, 2007.

At the time, he was suffering from acute pain in his head and eyeball as a result of a benign tumor in his brain.

But on the third day of a hearing into the matter yesterday, the IMC dropped four of the seven charges.

Allegations about the pain management by Dr Waldron and her team, as well as follow-up issues after Mr Clarke's discharge, were dismissed.

The remaining charges are that she did not maintain proper medical records or an adequate plan for painkillers. Dr Waldron is also accused of falling short of the standards expected of a consultant.

She has claimed that a standard of proof in the case does not exist.

Yesterday, Dr Waldron said that both Mr Clarke and his wife had become very concerned about the level of pain he was going through.


Mr Clarke had been transferred from Mayo General Hospital in Castlebar to UCHG for pain management.

Dr Waldron said she thought she had a good relationship with Mr Clarke before he lodged the allegations against her.

"Personally I felt we had a very good rapport," she said.

She read from notes about Mr Clarke which said his pain was so severe that he thought it would never go away. He had lost two businesses as a result of the problem.

Mr Clarke was unable to attend the hearing as he is seriously ill with an unrelated condition.

Earlier this week, an expert witness for the IMC, Dr Julia Riley, a consultant in palliative care, said she believed the pain management provided for Mr Clarke was "inappropriate" and did not follow guidelines.

However, she subsequently accepted there was a reasonable doubt surrounding some of the allegations.

The hearing is expected to resume next Thursday.

Irish Independent

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