Thursday 14 December 2017

Doctor failed to diagnose son's illness, parents claim

Michael McHale

THE parents of a 23-year-old man who died after suffering severe brain damage have accused the doctor in charge of scanning his brain of failing to diagnose his condition.

Mark Haran, from Moore- church, Julianstown, Co Meath, died on April 4, 2008. Suffering abdominal pains, nausea, headaches and vertigo, he was first admitted to Our Lady of Lourdes in Drogheda, Co Louth, on March 23 that year.

However, he was discharged five days later after doctors believed his condition had stopped getting worse.

After just four days at home he was rushed back to the hospital. When he suffered a heart attack and brain damage in the early hours of April 3, he was transferred to Dublin's Beaumont Hospital, but died the following day.

Mr Haran had recently returned from an overseas trip when he became ill.

Just two days before he was first discharged, consultant radiologist at Our Lady of Lourdes, John Hanson, carried out an MRI scan on his brain.

Last year the Dublin City Coroner's court found a "fundamental breakdown in interpretation" among doctors over the scan results and recorded 'medical misadventure' as the cause of death.

Now solicitors for Mr Haran's parents, John and Barbara Haran, have brought a fitness-to-practice inquiry against Dr Hanson.

They allege he failed to diagnose his condition as acute hydrocephalus, causing a widening of ventricles in the brain and failed to communicate adequately with the junior doctor he had verbally reported the scan results to.

During last year's inquest, Mr Hanson said he reported the ventricles as "grossly abnormal" to then surgical intern, Dr Udim Damachi.

However, giving evidence in the Medical Council hearing, Dr Damachi said Dr Hanson told her he saw "prominent ventricle spaces" and that everything else was "otherwise normal".

After taking notes from what the radiologist told her, she said she then recited the main points to fellow intern Dr Ian Martin, who wrote them into Mr Haran's patient chart.


After a review the following morning by Mr Haran's surgical team, which included Dr Damachi and Dr Martin, consultant surgeon Mr Adel Elsaied recommended discharge on the basis that his condition wasn't deteriorating.

After Mr Hanson died, the post-mortem examination found that he had died of raised pressure to the brain, secondary to water on the brain, with compression of the brain stem.

In a letter Dr Hanson wrote to the Medical Council about the case, he said he did not recommend further action after the MRI scan, but instead left it to the surgical team in charge "who I expected would act further on the findings".

However, in giving evidence yesterday, Mr Elsaied said the medical team, which included Dr Hanson, was "in a better position to analyse the situation". The Medical Council hearing continues.

Irish Independent

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