Thursday 24 May 2018

'He shouted in our face and invaded our personal space' - inquiry told doctor was angry at nurses

Dr Omar Mohamed at the inquiry. Photo: Frank McGrath
Dr Omar Mohamed at the inquiry. Photo: Frank McGrath

Liz Farsaci

A DOCTOR was ‘very angry’ and ‘aggressive’ with two nurses, a medical inquiry heard yesterday.

Other colleagues claimed that Dr. Omar Hassan Khalafalla Mohamed, during an incident in October 2012, acted unprofessionally with several of his colleagues.

Dr. Hassan, with an address in Dublin 15, is the subject of the ongoing disciplinary inquiry taking place at the Medical Council headquarters in Dublin 2.

Dr. Hassan faces a number of allegations relating to events that occurred and medical care he provided while working as an SHO at the Midlands Regional Hospital Portlaoise, Mayo General Hospital and University Hospital Galway. Dr. Hassan denies the allegations.

One of the allegations claims that on 5 October 2012, Dr. Hassan spoke with two nurses in an aggressive manner.

Mary Brennan Conway, who has worked as a health care assistant at Portlaoise hospital in 19 years, yesterday (Wednesday) told the inquiry that on the day in question, Dr. Hassan shouted at student nurse Ethel Cathill and nurse Elaine McEvoy

Ms. Conway said Dr. Hassan came into the day ward, where she and the two nurses were, ‘so angry’ and wanted to know the name of the nurse who bleeped him.

Nurse McEvoy had been trying to contact – or bleep – Dr. Hassan because she required his assistance in consenting patients and admitting them to theatre.

‘That day he was very angry and I was afraid for the nurse,’ she said, referring to Ms. Cathill.

‘His tone and his body language was not right – it was aggressive.’

Ms. Conway said she could hear shouting from the nurses’ station. ‘His tone was very bad and you could tell he was angry,’ she said.

Ms. Conway asked Ms. McEvoy to assist Ms. Cathill, and then another colleague, Mary Delaney, to assist Ms. McEvoy, as Ms. Cathill had resumed nursing duties.

Under cross-examination by Dr. Hassan, Ms. Conway told him, ‘Your body language and tone was wrong. I did not like it.’

When Dr. Hassan asked her to be specific about body language, Ms. Conway said ‘You kept pushing [Ethel] into the corner. When a girl is reversing into a corner – something is wrong there.’

Speaking to Dr. Hassan, she said, ‘Your tone of voice was loud and angry.’

Nurse Mary Delaney, who was also involved in the incident, yesterday (Wednesday) told the inquiry that Dr. Hassan shouted in her face and invaded her personal space by standing within inches of her.

‘His tone and body language was so invasive of our personal space,’ she said.

Ms. Delaney told the inquiry of the importance of preparing patients in the day ward for theatre in a timely manner, and of the adverse effect that delays had on patients. She said the day ward closes at a certain time, and if patients are not seen to that day, their surgeries can be delayed until a further date.

Ethel Cathill, who was a student nurse at the time of the incident on 5 October 2012, said Dr. Hassan ‘approached the ward in an aggressive manner, at a fast pace – not in a professional manner’ on that day.

Ms. Cathill said she didn’t feel at risk from Dr. Hassan but that he was in close proximity to her and she felt that he was acting in an unprofessional manner.

‘I felt uncomfortable in the situation but not threatened,’ she said.

On Tuesday, a distressed Elaine McEvoy told the inquiry that on 5 October 2012, Dr. Hassan came into the day ward where she was and became very aggressive with her. This was after she had tried to contact him for over two hours, she said.

Dr. Hassan has vehemently denied Nurse McEvoy’s version of events, and said that she spoke towards him in an abusive manner.

There were a number of starts and stops to the inquiry yesterday (Wednesday).

In the morning, speaking via telephone, Dr. Hassan submitted an application to have the inquiry – which began on Monday – adjourned until today (Thursday), so that he might have more time to secure legal representation.

After considering the matter, the inquiry committee chairman, Dr. Michael Ryan, said it was clear that Dr. Hassan has already been aware of his right to representation and had adequate notice of the inquiry. However, in order to assist the doctor in his search for representation, the proceedings were adjourned until the afternoon.

When proceedings resumed, Dr. Hassan requested that the inquiry be adjourned for another 40 minutes so that a colleague of his might be able to attend the inquiry and provide support. This request was also granted.

Dr. Hassan worked at Midlands Regional Hospital Portlaoise from July 2012 until 1 January 2013, and at Mayo General Hospital in December 2013. He then worked as an orthopaedic SHO at University Hospital Galway in January and February 2014.

Dr. Hassan is facing allegations of Professional Misconduct and Poor Professional Performance, with a number of factual allegations relating to those.

The inquiry continues today

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