Tuesday 16 January 2018

Paediatrician failed in treatment of seriously ill child after emergency C-section - inquiry hears

Mohammad Ilyas Khan, from Co Tipperary, who attended the fitness-to-practise enquiry at
Kingram House, Dublin
Mohammad Ilyas Khan, from Co Tipperary, who attended the fitness-to-practise enquiry at Kingram House, Dublin

Sam Griffin

A paediatrician failed to put in place an adequate plan for the treatment of seriously ill child after he was born following an emergency Caesarean section, a Medical Council fitness to practise inquiry has ruled.

Dr Mohammad Ilyas Khan, a  locum consultant paediatrician at South Tipperary Hospital, was also found to have failed to follow national guidelines in relation to the transfer of the patient to another hospital and was found to have told the baby’s parents their child was “fine” when he knew that was not the case.

In total, the inquiry found the actions by Dr Khan amounted to poor professional performance in six of the seven allegations against him.

The allegations related to the care he provided to ‘Patient BT’ who was born in South Tipperary Hospital in June 2012.

Dr Khan was working as a locum consultant paediatrician at the time and had previously told the Medical Council how he battled to save the life of the baby who was born following an emergency Caesarean section

It was alleged Dr Khan failed to put in place an adequate treatment plan after the baby was diagnosed with hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy (HIE) - a condition where the brain receives an insufficient level of blood and oxygen - shortly after birth.

Research has shown that specialist treatment, known as hypothermic treatment or “cooling”, has proven to reduce the risk of death or disability in cases where HIE is diagnosed.

The inquiry heard the little boy has since been diagnosed with cerebral palsy and has problem with motor skills, among other difficulties.

The inquiry committee today ruled six of the seven allegations had been proven to fact by the evidence of several witnesses including the patient's mother and that of expert witness Dr Kevin Connolly.

During the inquiry, Dr Khan had given evidence on how he arrived into the labour ward around six minutes after the baby had been born and said the condition of ‘Patient BT’ was “critical”. He said the baby was “blue, lifeless and limp”.

He explained how he took over the job of resuscitating the baby as he was not breathing.

He said he recalled feeling “delighted” as the baby’s vital signs improved after he was transferred to an intensive care unit in the hospital following successful resuscitation.

Expert witness, Dr Connolly who is a former consultant paediatrician, said there had been “serious failures” in the level of care given to ‘Patient BT’.

Reacting afterwards, the child's parents Noelle and Liam Tobin said in a statement that the finding would not change what had happened but said they hoped it would help other families.

"We are very pleased that six out of seven allegations against Dr Khan regarding the care of our son have been proven beyond all reasonable doubt. The outcome will not change our lives but hopefully it will have a positive impact for other families," the statement read.

"The inquiry process was very positive experience for us and no matter what the outcome, we always felt we were listened to and heard.

"A special thank you to our families and friends and all those involved in the inquiry."

Medical Council will decide on a later date what sanctions will be imposed following the findings. Dr Khan did not attend today's hearing.

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