Thursday 19 July 2018

Doctor 'fabricated' sick notes as excuse for not sitting exam

Photo: PA
Photo: PA

Alan O'Keeffe

A doctor was declared guilty of professional misconduct because he used “fabricated” sick notes as an excuse for not sitting an exam.

A Fitness to Practice Committee of the Irish Medical Council cited the opinion of a medical consultant who stated such behaviour would be considered by experienced doctors to be “disgraceful and dishonourable.”

The doctor faced five charges, including charges of forging the medical certificates and/or arranging for the forgery of the certificates.

The doctor’s defending senior counsel Paul Anthony McDermott, S.C., said the Medical Council’s chief executive officer failed to provide any evidence from a handwriting expert concerning the forgery charges.

The committee found charges relating to committing forgery were found to be “not proven beyond reasonable doubt.”

He was found guilty Tuesday of two charges of claiming the fabricated documents were genuine when he sent them to the Royal College of Ophthalmologist in London in October 2014.

Barrister Eoghan O’Sullivan, appearing for the council’s chief executive officer, told the committee there was no evidence that a name on one of the certificates was that of a qualified doctor or if he even existed.

The accused doctor, whose name was not released by the committee, was referred to as ‘Doctor A.’  He  currently works at Limerick University Hospital and has worked at a number of Irish hospitals over the last 12 years.

The hearing concluded yesterday at the headquarters of the Irish Medical Council in Dublin. Committee Chairperson Mary Duff said the committee will be making recommendations to the council for sanctions against the doctor in due course.

At an earlier hearing, the committee was told the doctor has been on an ophthalmology training programme in Limerick since July 2012 and had applied to the college in London to sit the first part of the fellowship exams on October 6, 2014.

The doctor did not sit the exam, for which the fee was £550 (€650, approx). He later requested the college defer his exam, stating he had been ill.

He emailed the college a handwritten certificate, signed with the name Dr Massood Khan, on headed notepaper from the South Infirmary University Hospital in Cork, indicating he had been admitted to the hospital on Oct 4 for treatment of an abscess on his tonsils.

The college contacted the Cork hospital to investigate the authenticity of the certificate. No evidence was found that Doctor A had been admitted to the hospital and it was established there was no Dr Masood Khan working at the hospital.

Doctor A later submitted a handwritten medical certificate to a medical consultant. It was on headed notepaper from a clinical service, based in Dublin, where Doctor A had worked some years previously. 

The committee found this certificate had also been “fabricated.”

Professor Stephen Lane, a consultant respiratory specialist, called as an expert witness, told the earlier hearing  the act of “fraudulently” writing out a certificate in the name of a non-existent doctor would be “disgraceful and dishonourable, ” as would arranging such an act to take place, and would be deemed professional misconduct.

Online Editors

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News