Sunday 19 November 2017

New mum 'misdiagnosed', inquiry told

Alison Hunter Hickey
Alison Hunter Hickey

Liz Farsaci

A new mother suffering from a potentially fatal inflammation of her uterus was misdiagnosed by a local GP, resulting in her being rushed to hospital the following day, an inquiry heard yesterday.

A Medical Council hearing was told Dr Saleem Sharif (57) failed to carry out an appropriate examination of Alison Hunter Hickey, or arrange for relevant investigations when she visited him at the GP Now Clinic in Sandyford, Dublin 18 on October 28, 2014, where he was working as a locum GP.

Dr Saleem Sharif
Dr Saleem Sharif

Ms Hickey (47) gave birth to twin boys in October 2014 by caesarean section, a disciplinary hearing in Dublin heard yesterday. Less than three weeks later, on October 28, 2014, Ms Hunter became unwell, experiencing flu-like symptoms, shivering, a high temperature, abdominal pain and odorous discharge.

She attended the GP Now Clinic in Sandyford, where she explained her symptoms to Dr Sharif. According to the new mother, Dr Sharif conducted no physical examination, nor did he order any tests or take a complete medical history

Instead, he asked her only two questions - one regarding her discharge, and also whether she was suffering from a sore throat.

"He said it was probably a urinary tract infection, and asked was I allergic to penicillin. I said no. That was it. It was a very short consultation," Ms Hickey told the inquiry yesterday.

"There were very few questions asked. There was very little interaction."

But the following day, Ms Hickey's symptoms grew worse. "I woke up at 1am feeling absolutely dreadful," Ms Hickey said. "I was having spasms. I wasn't able to talk."

An ambulance was called and she was rushed to the Rotunda hospital. There she was diagnosed with endometritis, or an inflammation of the uterine lining. If left untreated, endometritis can lead to sepsis and organ failure. Ms Hickey made a full recovery, and was discharged from hospital on November 1, 2014.

Ms Hickey's husband, Karl Hickey, made a complaint to the GP Now Clinic. Unsatisfied with the response he received, Mr Hickey then complained to the Medical Council.

Dr Sharif, through his legal counsel, admitted he failed to take an adequate medical history, failed to carry out any appropriate examination and failed to arrange for initial relevant investigation. The inquiry continues today.

Irish Independent

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