A DOCTOR has been cleared of allegations that she knowingly failed to use a defibrillator on a patient who had suffered a heart attack and later died.
Hungarian-born Dr Maria Gordos had rejected the allegation yesterday, on the second and last day of a fitness-to-practise hearing at the Irish Medical Council.
She also rejected an allegation that she failed to provide advice, support or assistance to the family of the 60-year-old woman from Co Carlow who was not named.
The council found that this allegation was proved, but it did not amount to poor professional performance.
The doctor had faced a third charge of professional misconduct for allegedly delaying the departure of the ambulance while she looked for her scarf.
That allegation, however, was withdrawn yesterday.
The council heard that Dr Gordos was working on-call for Caredoc, an out-of-hours GP service, when she was called to a sick patient on December 11, 2010
The woman complained of chest pains and her husband and a number of her adult children were in the house when she arrived at around 5.15pm.
Her condition deteriorated rapidly and she was dead by the time her ambulance arrived at St Luke's Hospital in Kilkenny.
The family claimed that the doctor failed to use the defibrillator when she should have, and delayed the departure of the ambulance because she was looking for a scarf. Dr Gordos rejected the allegations, insisting that she had been subjected to hostility from the family, and that she did all she could for the patient. She further claimed that at one point she feared for her life due to the conduct of the woman's family.
After the patient had been brought to the accident and emergency department, Dr Gordos said that she had intended to update the family.
But the woman's son looked at her and was "really hostile to me, blaming me, that's what I felt", she said.
"I had intended to tell them what had happened to their mother but he stopped me," she added.
Asked about informing the family about what was happening while in the patient's house, Dr Gordos said that her main concern at the time was helping the woman.
She also said that she was subjected to abusive language from one of the patient's daughters.
In its judgment, the committee said it had taken account of the view of expert witness Dr Peter Wahlrab.
In evidence he said that, given the alleged hostility of the woman's family towards Dr Gordos, he could not criticise her for not updating them with information about the patient's condition.