Saturday 24 February 2018

Woman tells inquiry of shock at mother's death hours after seeing GP

Kevin Keane

A womAn has told of her shock at the death of her mother, just hours after she was seen by a GP.

Mary Daly told a Medical Council inquiry that her mother, May O'Sullivan, had been unwell with diarrhoea and vomiting for several days before being seen by Dr Mehboob Kukaswadia.

She had expected her mother to get better, but the inquiry heard the 64-year-old was found dead by her son only hours after Mrs Daly left her side, the morning after being seen by the GP.

Dr Kukaswadia, of the SouthDoc service in Cork city, faces allegations of poor professional performance and professional misconduct in relation to his treatment of Mrs O'Sullivan on December 11, 2008.

These include that he failed to take a medical history; failed to take his patient's vital signs, including her pulse; and failed to transfer her to hospital.

Dr Kukaswadia, who is from Pakistan but has been an Irish citizen since 1985, denies that any of the allegations against him amounts to poor professional performance or professional misconduct.

The inquiry was told that a coroner's report found the main cause of death was a heart attack, and anti-depressants found in "the fatal range" in Mrs O'Sullivan's bloodstream were a contributing factor.

Mrs O'Sullivan was also taking blood pressure medication, sleeping tablets, cholesterol medication and diazepam (valium). She had already been seen by another GP and had spoken to her own GP on the phone.

Mrs Daly said that the day before her death, there was an improvement in her mother's condition and she decided to go into town, against her daughter's advice. She subsequently received a phone call saying her mother had collapsed outside the GPO in Cork city and had been taken home in a taxi.

Mrs O'Sullivan was very weak that evening, and a call was placed with SouthDoc leading to Dr Kukaswadia coming to her house at around 11.30pm.

Mrs Daly said that apart from taking her blood pressure and pinching her skin, Dr Kukaswadia did not make any other physical examination.

She said she stayed with her mother until after 4am, and the following morning when she rang the house there was no answer. Her brother went to check and found their mother dead.

In his evidence, Dr Kukaswadia told the inquiry that while he agreed he did not record the respiratory rate or pulse in his notes, he did monitor them while taking Mrs O'Sullivan's blood pressure, and said he believed someone was going to keep an eye on Mrs O'Sullivan through the night.

Dr Kukaswadia said he decided against admitting Mrs O'Sullivan to hospital because of the risk of the winter vomiting bug.

"Her condition was improving, and I felt it was better for her to stay at home," he said.


An expert witness, Dr Stephen Murphy, told the inquiry it appeared to him that in the days before her death, Mrs O'Sullivan had suffered a heart attack and was coincidentally suffering from gastro intestinal problems.

He said there should have been an examination of the abdomen and of the chest, and Dr Kukaswadia should have looked for signs of stroke.

Dr Murphy said that when all of her symptoms were put together, he believed Mrs O'Sullivan should have been transferred to hospital.

However, he added that it might not have made any difference to the outcome. The inquiry continues on March 19.

Irish Independent

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