Wednesday 21 February 2018

Doctor who told happily married woman she had herpes is found guilty of poor professional practice

Dr Iman Ekky pictured leaving a Medical Council inquiry in Kingram House, Dublin 2
Dr Iman Ekky pictured leaving a Medical Council inquiry in Kingram House, Dublin 2

A doctor who incorrectly diagnosed a married woman with the sexually transmitted infection herpes has been found guilty of poor professional performance.

A Medical Council fitness to practice inquiry found that eight allegations of poor professional practice against Dr Iman Ekky, who works in the Drumcondra Clinic in Dublin were proven as to fact.

During a two-day inquiry, evidence was given that Dr Ekky diagnosed the 36-year-old mother with herpes in April 2012, despite the woman’s protests that she was in a monogamous and loving relationship.

The woman, who did not have the disease, told the inquiry that has said she felt “stupid” after the diagnosis. She believed that she was being told by Dr Ekky that if she was not ‘playing-away’ then her husband was.

The woman, who at the direction of the inquiry can only be identified as Patient A, also told how she and her husband survived the misdiagnosis because of the strength of their relationship and added that a different relationship could have been completely destroyed.

The inquiry heard that Dr Ekky told the woman that the herpes had been probably dormant. She also told her she was going to take a swab for the STIs Chlamydia and gonorrhoea.

Two days after her diagnosis, Patient A as the woman was known in the court case, sought a second opinion in which she was cleared of having herpes and was diagnosed instead with a blocked gland, known as a bathonlin’s cyst.

She and her husband gave evidence to the inquiry of their shock and anger at the misdiagnosis.

Patient A’s husband told the hearing that he was absolutely furious at the misdiagnosis and described his wife as a “lovely innocent lady”.

Dr Ekky denied all the allegations before her. However, the fitness to practice committee found that all eight were proven as to fact and constituted poor professional performance.

Among these allegations were that Dr Ekky diagnosed Patient A with herpes in circumstances where there was no evidence for the diagnosis and that she failed to take in to account that Patient A was in a monogamous relationship. An allegation that she caused Patient A and her husband undue distress as a result of the diagnosis was also found to be proven against Dr Ekky.

The report on the matter will now be forwarded to the board of the Medical Council, which will decide what penalty, if any, to impose on Dr Ekky.

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