Wednesday 22 November 2017

Mother-of-seven never knew if doctor had removed her ovaries, inquiry hears

Consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr Peter Van Geene during the The Medical Council fitness-to-practise inquiry at Kingram House, Dublin
Consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr Peter Van Geene during the The Medical Council fitness-to-practise inquiry at Kingram House, Dublin
Dr. Peter Van Geene arrives at the fitness to practice enquiry at the medical council

Sam Griffin

A WOMAN who has made allegations of poor professional performance against a gynaecologist never knew whether he had removed her ovaries following surgery, a fitness to practise inquiry has heard.

The mother of seven was giving evidence on the fourth day of the Medical Council fitness to practise inquiry into allegations by four patients made against Peter Van Geene.

The complaints relate to hysterectomies performed between 2009 and 2011. He will dispute the allegations when he gives evidence.

Patient C, who is remaining anonymous, told the inquiry she suffered with incontinence and discomfort and was referred to Mr Van Geene by her GP.

Read more: Doctor was 'very rude' to hysterectomy patient but didn't 'beat' her, inquiry hears

She agreed to undergo a hysterectomy and a pelvic floor repair in the Aut Even hospital. Patient C said she didn’t recall discussing the risks of the procedure with him but agreed she did sign consent.

Helen Cruise
Helen Cruise

Some complications followed including serious blood loss and she received six units of blood and had to go undergo a laparotomy.

The inquiry heard of a meeting the patient had with Mr Van Geene two months after the procedure where she asked if he had removed her ovaries during the procedure.

“I did ask him if he removed my ovaries and he said he wasn’t sure because he didn’t have all his records with him,” she told the inquiry.

She was then asked if the question about ovaries had been subsequently answered to which the patient said they had not.

Lawyers for Mr Van Geene told her that her “ovaries” had not been removed and apologised that she had not been told. Patient C acknowledged this but did not comment any further.

In earlier evidence, Aut Even anaesthetist Dr John Cudmore said he reported the care of Patient C to the hospital authorities because it was the “second significant haemorrhage in a short space of time” involving a patient under Mr Van Geene’s care.

Dr Cudmore told the inquiry how he was called from his home on the night of October 11 2011 after Patient C suffered postoperative bleeding after the hysterectomy.

He said the patient looked “shocked” when he saw her in the hospital and had “signs of clinically being shut down”. He added she was lethargic, in pain and bleeding.

Read more: Doctor said he threw my womb in a bucket, mum tells inquiry

He assessed the patient to determine what anaesthetic to give her and said he was happy with the outcome.

He said he never spoke to Mr Van Geene either before or after the patient was taken back to the operating theatre for a laparotomy. He agreed it was “unusual” not to speak with the primary physician, who he said was Mr Van Geene.

The inquiry heard that afterwards Dr Cudmore reported the situation to the theatre manager after the procedure.

“It was the second case of serious haemorrhaging following an elective procedure with Mr Van Geene,” he said and added anaesthetists had been “blamed before when things aren’t going right in a hospital”.

He said anaesthetists had been accused of not making management aware of problems prior to this event.

Asked by the inquiry committee why he hadn’t spoken with Mr Van Geene, he said: “I don’t know. I don’t work with Mr Van Geene normally so I don’t know.”

The inquiry continues tomorrow.

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