Wednesday 12 December 2018

Doctor changed notes in dead baby case 'for his own advantage'

Baby Mark Molloy. Photo: RTE Investigates
Baby Mark Molloy. Photo: RTE Investigates
Laura Lynott

Laura Lynott

A registrar facing professional misconduct allegations had "indefensibly" altered medical notes after the child's death, a fitness-to-practise inquiry was told.

A HSE official involved in the investigation into the death of baby Mark Molloy questioned staff at the Midland Regional Hospital, Portlaoise.

He told a Medical Council fitness-to-practise hearing that he was part of the HSE major incident investigation, which took place following the death on January 24, 2012.

He found medical notes made after the baby's death had been altered by a registrar of obstetrics to "change the meaning of what happened" in the lead up to the tragedy.

The registrar, known as Dr A, is before the inquiry accused of poor professional misconduct and or/poor performance.

He is accused of failing to review a CTG monitor adequately, or at all, or of correctly interpreting abnormal or non-reassuring results.

During a February 29, 2012, interview, the official questioned Dr A, who was a "very upset" and "tearful".

He found Dr A had changed retrospective medical notes, which had been made in the hours after the baby's death, on the results of the CTG monitor.

The notes had been altered from "satisfactory" CTG results to "non-satisfactory / non-reassuring" days after the death, the inquiry was told.

The CTG monitor would have been used to trace the heartbeat of the baby and his mother, Róisín Molloy.

The baby died 22 minutes after birth and evidence already heard from other staff alleged that Dr A hadn't been seen observing the CTG monitor.

The official said that the notes had been changed from "being satisfactory in the original records to unsatisfactory after and to unreassuring".

"The original notes appeared to have been changed."

Dr A was told that changing the notes was "indefensible" and he admitted it "looked bad", the inquiry heard.

The official said: "When Dr A admitted the change (in notes) he was upset and I was disappointed that he'd made an addition (to the notes.)

"I felt he'd let himself down. If he was going to alter the meaning of what happened, he should have signed and dated the change.

"He got upset, he became tearful," he added.

The official added that the baby's death was "a catastrophe, a tragic outcome for the family".

He said that Dr A's note- altering had been done for "his own advantage" in the wake of the death and ultimate investigation.

Dr A, who is representing himself at the inquiry at the Medical Council in Dublin, told the hearing that he had not been able to get any advice from staff or management at the hospital and he changed the notes when he realised he'd made a mistake.

But the official said proper note-taking was something that every doctor learnt in medical school.

There was, he said, a procedure to make alterations - and that on all occasions, an explanation had to be provided on why notes were changed and a date and signature provided.

Earlier yesterday, a midwife told the hearing she had been instructed by a senior midwife to call a registrar to report concerns over CTG results monitoring the mother and baby's heart rates.

She claimed that she called and spoke to Dr A at around 7.20am and asked him to attend to check on Ms Molloy and the CTG results.

But Dr A claimed he received a call only just before 8am when he was told there was problem with the mother delivering the baby. "I said I'm coming," he said.

Dr A denies the allegations. The hearing continues on March 12.

Irish Independent

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