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Doctor missed all the signs of Vicki's fatal pneumonia


Vicki Core

Vicki Core

Vicki Core

A FAMILY doctor has been found guilty of two counts of professional misconduct after a young woman died from cardiac arrest linked to pneumonia less than 24 hours after leaving his clinic.

The mother of Vicki Core, who was misdiagnosed with gastric flu, said the family miss her "terribly" and are "still living with the pain".

The 24-year-old trainee hair stylist from Tallaght, Dublin, died in an ambulance on the way to hospital on July 1, 2007.

She suffered cardiac arrest linked to bronchial pneumonia, a post-mortem revealed.

Less than 24 hours before she collapsed at her home, she was treated by Dr A – who cannot be identified – at a walk-in clinic.

A Medical Council Fitness-to-Practise inquiry was launched to address a number of allegations made following Ms Core's death.

It was claimed previously that Ms Core was told she had gastric flu. Dr A, it is alleged, prescribed Motilium, an over-the-counter drug used to treat stomach upsets. Ms Core died the following day.

Dr A originally faced 11 allegations of professional misconduct in relation to his treatment of Ms Core when she visited his surgery on June 30, 2007.

However, on the second day of the inquiry, six of the allegations were withdrawn.

Yesterday, he was found guilty on two allegations of professional misconduct.


Maureen Core, Vicki's mother, said she had wanted answers following her daughter's sudden death.

She told how, on the day her daughter died, Vicki had said: "Mam this is wrong, there is nobody listening to me."

Maureen said: "I've been just driven by Vicki's voice, the conviction, she knew it was wrong. She knew that day.

"We're still living with the pain, we're still living with the injustice, the lack of help."

She also criticised the lack of transparency for private patients. "There's no open transparency for any private patent going to see a doctor.

"Why don't we enjoy the same as what the HSE and medical card patients enjoy?

"You're not sitting with one doctor, you're sitting with a public body, a whole body is responsible for you not just that one person.

"Where is the protection for the patient? Where is the protection for the young person? I'm extraordinarily concerned about that. Where is the voice for the young person?"

She also said it was "extremely unfair" Dr A retains his anonymity and was not required to give evidence.

Dr A was found to have failed to carry out all appropriate examinations of Ms Cole and or failed to carry out one or more examinations in a competent manner.

The committee found "no adequate abdominal or respiratory examination was carried out".

The doctor was also found to have failed to give adequate consideration to the symptoms Ms Core was suffering from as reported by her and the members of her family.

The remaining allegations were not proven beyond reasonable doubt.

Irish Independent