Sunday 21 January 2018

Surgeon Martin Corbally challenges findings over tongue-tie operation

Aodhan O'Faolain

A SURGEON is challenging a Medical Council Fitness to Practise Committee's finding that he was guilty of poor professional performance over an unnecessary tongue-tie operation.

Prof Martin Corbally has brought the High Court case after an inquiry found the wrong operation was carried carried out on a two-and-a-half-year-old girl at Our Lady's Children's Hospital, Crumlin, in April 2010.

The child had a tongue tie operation, known medically as a lingual frenulectomy which involved releasing the fold of skin beneath her tongue - when what she needed was an upper labial frenulectomy to release the fold of skin attaching her upper lip to her gum. She subsequently had the correct operation.

Prof Corbally has brought the challenge on grounds including the allegations of poor professional performance against him were not proven beyond a reasonable doubt, and are unreasonable and irrational.

He also argues the committee erred in its interpretation of the term poor professional performances in their findings against him.

Last October, the inquiry committee held that Prof Corbally, who was a paediatric surgeon at Crumlin Hospital, incorrectly described the procedure required by the child in his notes.

It also found that Prof Corbally, who is currently working in Bahrain, further failed to communicate adequately to Dr Fahran Tareen, the registrar to whom he delegated the operation, and failed to apply appropriate standards of clinical judgment expected from a surgeon with his experience.

The committee determined the allegations amounted to poor professional performance and recommended to the Medical Council that it impose a sanction of admonishment or censure on Prof Corbally.

In his action against the Medical Council, Ireland and the Attorney General Prof Corbally, Island View Corballis Donabate Co Dublin, is seeking various orders quashing the three findings and the recommendation to sanction him.

Moving the application Eileen Barrington SC for Prof Corbally said that it was their case that the committee had erred in its interpretation of poor professional performance in finding that a once off or single error or human error could constitute poor professional performance.

It was also being argued that Medical Council's committee had failed to take into account relevant expert given by its legal assessor as to the interpretation to be given to what constitutes poor professional performance under the 2007 Medical Practitioner's Act.

Leave to bring the challenge was granted yesterday, on an ex parte (one-side only) basis, by Mr Justice Michael Peart. The Judge made the matter returnable to February of next year.

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