Monday 18 December 2017

Doctor accuses medical inquiry of ‘bordering on character assassination’

Medic accused of reading X-ray upside down

Dr Vincent Osunkwo worked in the Midland Regional Hospital, Portlaoise
Dr Vincent Osunkwo worked in the Midland Regional Hospital, Portlaoise

Kevin Keane

The Medical Council has resumed an inquiry in a doctor accused of attempting to read an X-ray upside down and using a scalpel to insert a tube in to a patient’s hand.

Dr Vincent Osunkwo faces a total of 13 allegations of poor professional practice and professional misconduct relating to his work in the Midlands Regional Hospital, Portlaoise, during March and April 2009.      

In September of this year, a fitness to practice inquiry hearing in to Dr Osunkwo’s behavior was adjourned to afford him the opportunity to give evidence via video link from Nigeria.

Dr Osunkwo failed to attend this morning’s hearing and a lawyer for McDowell Purcell solicitors, a legal firm representing the CEO of the Medical Council, told the inquiry that Dr Osunkwo’s application for a visa to enter Ireland in May of this year was refused, as was a subsequent appeal.

Rory Mulcahy said his firm had been in email contact with Dr Osunkwo following the first adjournment of his case in September. In one email Dr Osunkwo told McDowell Purcell solicitors that the action under way was ‘bordering on character assassination’.

Mr Mulcahy said Dr Osunkwo has not replied to any other correspondence since that email.

The inquiry heard evidence that following complaints from three nurses against him, Dr Osunkwo was taken off clinical duties and told to shadow more senior doctors.

Consultant surgeon Peter Naughton told the hearing that Dr Osunkwo accompanied him for a period of two weeks and was assigned a number of tasks during this time.

However, Mr Naughton said that even after this period he would never have been happy to give Dr Osunkwo any clinical responsibility.

Mr Naughton said Dr Osunkwo got the job of Senior House Officer after the original successful applicant from the Mater Hospital ‘let them down’ by not turning up. He said the job was then advertised nationally and Dr Osunkwo was the only applicant.

Other allegations against Dr Osunkwo include that he told a colleague that scans performed on a patient’s kidneys were “fine” when they in fact showed multiple abnormal masses. It is claimed he also told a member of his medical team that a patient was fine when that patient was in fact receiving oxygen in the intensive care unit.

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