Tuesday 24 April 2018

Married couple tell of stress after STD misdiagnosis

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

Kevin Keane

A HAPPILY married couple, who endured a herpes misdiagnosis, have said they hope no other couple have to go through the stress, devastation and utter embarrassment they suffered.

They were speaking after the doctor who made the misdiagnosis of the sexually transmitted infection was found guilty of poor professional performance.

Dr Iman Ekky, who works at the Drumcondra Clinic in Dublin, told the 36-year-old mother, who can only be identified as Patient A, that she had herpes. This was despite the woman's protests that she was in a loving and monogamous relationship.

A Medical Council fitness to practise inquiry into Dr Ekky's treatment heard that when informed of the diagnosis, Patient A felt 'stupid' and believed she was being told that if she was not "playing away" then her husband was.

Yesterday, all eight allegations of poor professional performance against Dr Ekky were found to be proven. These included that she diagnosed Patient A with herpes in circumstances where there was no evidence; and that she failed to take into account that Patient A was in a monogamous relationship.

An allegation that Dr Ekky caused Patient A and her husband undue distress as a result of the diagnosis was also found to be proven.

Dr Ekky had denied all the allegations but did not give evidence to the inquiry and did not attend yesterday's hearing.

ANXIETY

The couple, who met when they were teenagers and have been married for 12 of their 18 years together, spoke after the inquiry of the stress and anxiety the misdiagnosis caused them.

Patient A's husband said another couple might not have withstood the pressure of the original diagnosis.

"We hope and pray that nobody has to go through this stress, devastation and utter embarrassment ever again," he said.

During the two-day hearing, Patient A's husband described his wife as "a lovely, innocent lady" and said bringing an allegation of sexual misconduct into their home was "unforgivable".

His wife, Patient A, echoed her husband's sentiments.

"For a couple that may have been going through a rough patch or just starting out in a relationship, it could have been utterly devastating for them," she said.

He told the hearing that the couple had a "highly monogamous relationship based on trust, respect and friendship" and said he was furious when told of the herpes diagnosis.

Patient A decided to make a complaint against Dr Ekky because she felt that if she had been in a different relationship it could have been "completely destroyed".

The fitness to practise committee's report will now be forwarded to the board of the Medical Council, which will decide at a future date what penalty, if any, to impose on Dr Ekky.

Irish Independent

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