Saturday 20 January 2018

Doctor did not know if he removed my ovaries, inquiry told

Doctor Peter Van Geene
Doctor Peter Van Geene

Sam Griffin

A woman alleging poor professional performance against a gynaecologist never knew whether he had removed her ovaries following surgery, a fitness to practise inquiry has heard.

The mother-of-seven was giving evidence on the fourth day of the Medical Council fitness to practise inquiry into allegations by four patients made against Peter Van Geene.

The complaints relate to hysterectomies performed between 2009 and 2011 at the Aut Even hospital in Kilkenny.

Mr Van Geene will dispute the allegations when he gives evidence.

Patient C, who is remaining anonymous, told the inquiry she suffered with incontinence and vaginal discomfort and met the surgeon in Aut Even where she agreed to undergo a vaginal hysterectomy and pelvic floor repair in 2011.

She said she did sign consent for the procedures, but didn't fully understand what would happen.

She said she didn't remember discussing the operations with Mr Van Geene, but said he had been "very reassuring".

After the hysterectomy, the patient was initially recovering well - but then began to lose blood and became extremely sick. She had to undergo a laparotomy and required six units of blood.

The inquiry heard of a meeting the patient had with Mr Van Geene two months after the procedure, at which stage she was no longer in discomfort, though still had incontinence problems.

She said at the meeting she had asked if he had removed her ovaries during the procedure.

"I did ask him if he removed my ovaries and he said he wasn't sure because he didn't have all his records with him," she told the inquiry.

She was then asked if the 'question' about ovaries had been subsequently answered, to which the patient said they had not.

Eugene Gleeson, barrister for Mr Van Geene, confirmed that her ovaries had not been removed and apologised that she had not been told this.

In earlier evidence, Aut Even anaesthetist Dr John Cudmore said he reported the care of Patient C to the hospital authorities because it was the "second significant haemorrhage in a short space of time" involving a patient under Mr Van Geene's care.

He said he never spoke to Mr Van Geene either before or after the patient was taken back to the operating theatre for the laparotomy, something he said was "unusual".

The inquiry continues today with Prof Peter McKenna, former master at the Rotunda hospital, to give expert testimony.

Irish Independent

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