Friday 20 April 2018

Surgeon failed to refer woman who later died, hearing told

Allison Bray

Allison Bray

A SURGEON is facing six allegations of professional misconduct after allegedly failing to refer a woman – who later died – for a mammogram.

The woman, who was 40 when she first visited her GP in July 2007, complaining of a lump in her left breast, did not get a mammogram for 10 months after her physician referred her to a consultant breast surgeon.

She later died of breast cancer on September 30, 2012, after undergoing a mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation treatment.

The surgeon is now facing six allegations of professional misconduct before the Irish Medical Council.

The consultant, who is on sick leave, is alleged to have failed to adequately consider the patient's condition and carry out an adequate examination on her – but carried out an ultrasound when he was not qualified to do so.

The medical profession's governing body also alleges that the consultant failed to refer the patient for the review of a specialist and failed to arrange any follow-up care as well as failing to meet accepted professional standards when she was in his care between August 29, 2007, and June 13, 2008.


During the first day of a three-day Fitness to Practise Committee hearing yesterday, the committee agreed to grant the consultant anonymity pending the outcome of the hearing.

The consultant, through his legal counsel Cathal Murphy, denies the allegations.

The committee heard that the patient, identified as Ms K, was referred to the consultant, "Dr C" by her GP in July 2007, after she complained of feeling a lump in her left breast.

The GP testified that he was not overly concerned, believing the woman had a benign lump in her breast, but referred her to the consultant because he wasn't "100pc sure".

The GP told how following her diagnosis with cancer she phoned him and told him of her worries for the future, including the fate of her young daughter and her will.

The committee heard that Ms K was given the "option" of a follow-up exam by the consultant for the following December which she didn't attend after he did a clinical exam and performed an ultrasound on her himself in August 2007.

She rang him again in February and saw him the following March when she was referred for a mammogram in June, 2008 when she was diagnosed with cancer.

Before she passed away, Ms K made a complaint to the Medical Council which led to the case being taken against Dr C.

The hearing continues today.

Irish Independent

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