Tuesday 21 November 2017

Doctor did not beat patient but was 'very rude', inquiry hears

Dr. Peter Van Geene
Dr. Peter Van Geene
Helen Cruise

Sam Griffin

A gynaecologist facing serious allegations of poor professional performance was "very rude" to a patient who had just undergone a serious operation but did not "beat" her, according to a nurse who cared for the patient.

Staff nurse Catriona Kennytold a Medical Council fitness to practice inquiry she was "left with the impression" that Peter Van Geene had shown "bad bedside manner" in a meeting with patient Helen Cruise.

Ms Cruise alleges the surgeon shouted at her and slapped her on the hands and legs.

Ms Kenny, who worked at Aut Even Hospital in August 2011, was giving evidence on the third day of the inquiry into allegations by four patients against the doctor relating to the period between 2009 and 2011 when he was working at the private hospital in Co Kilkenny.

Earlier this week, Ms Cruise said she was shocked by Mr Van Geene's manner during a meeting she had with him after he had performed a vaginal hysterectomy and laparotomy (incision through the abdominal wall) on August 23, 2011.

She claimed that the doctor became aggressive and shouted "Sue me, sue me, sue me" at her and slapped her hands and legs.

Mr Van Geene will dispute the allegations.

Ms Kenny provided care for Ms Cruise in the coronary care unit after she had been transferred to St Luke's hospital from Aut Even. She remembered organising and attending a meeting with Mr Van Geene, Ms Cruise and Ms Cruise's daughter Aneka on August 31.

She said she did not remember "exactly what happened" but did recall the surgeon making reference to the patient's smoking and that the word "sue" did come up.

"I felt that Helen was angry and her daughter was angry and upset," she told the inquiry. She added her "overall impression" was that Mr Van Geene was "very rude" and she gave him a seven out of 10 for his rudeness.


She said it was one of the most extreme cases she had come across. The parties agreed to meet again at a later time.

Asked why she didn't report the meeting, she said in hindsight she should have done so.

Asked under cross-examination if she recalled Mr Van Geene "beating" the patient, she said she did not and did not recall "any untoward touching".

She had no recollection of there being any mention of "money or payment" during the meeting.

In earlier evidence, Dr Mohammad Akram, a general physician at Aut Even, said he became concerned for Ms Cruise after the surgeries when fluid developed in her lungs.

He said he "recommended" that Ms Cruise be transferred to St Luke's but did not know who gave the order for this transfer. He said he never spoke to Mr Van Geene despite the patient's condition "deteriorating".

The inquiry also heard evidence from another complainant, Patient B, who said she felt could have been treated with more "sensitivity" after undergoing surgery in Aut Even in July 2010.

Lawyers for Mr Van Geene said nursing records showed Patient B was given medication intravenously when it should have been administered subcutaneously, or under the skin.

The inquiry continues today.

Irish Independent

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