Monday 23 October 2017

Doctor who failed breath test on his way to work guilty of misconduct

Kevin Keane

A DOCTOR who crashed his car on the way to work while under the influence of alcohol has been found guilty of professional misconduct.

A Medical Council Fitness to Practise Inquiry rejected Dr Zahir Mohamed's claims that he had not consumed alcohol, that he was refused medical treatment and that he was racially abused by another doctor at the scene.

Dr Mohamed was arrested after his car crashed on the Kilbeggan off-ramp of the M6 in Co Westmeath at around 7.30pm on August 7, 2011.

The inquiry heard from the arresting garda that the doctor, with an address in Co Westmeath, smelled of alcohol and was unsteady on his feet.

He failed a roadside breath test and refused to give a blood or urine sample at the garda station. Dr Mohamed claimed that a mild concussion and the fact that he was fasting for Ramadan caused him to appear unsteady.

He also told the inquiry that another doctor at the scene, identified only as Dr X, told him "we don't have ambulances for people like you" when he asked for one to be called.

He also told the inquiry that Dr X had a number of empty bottles of Budweiser in the footwell of the passenger seat of her car and suggested that he smelled of alcohol through inhaling fumes from these bottles.

Dr X told the inquiry that both of Dr Mohamed's allegations were untrue.

Garda Darren Murphy, who responded to the 999 call, said Dr Mohamed had smelled of alcohol and had failed a breath test.

He then arrested Dr Mohamed under Section 49a of the Road Traffic Act.

Gda Murphy told the inquiry that he believed Dr Mohamed refused to give a blood or urine sample once in the garda station because the consequences of what happened may have dawned on him.

"He was trying to back-pedal. Some people have an experience of the system and they see get-out clauses," Gda Murphy added.

Speeding

In his evidence, Dr Mohamed denied that he was late for his shift.

He did admit to speeding however, commenting: "This is part of how I drive but not dangerous speeding."

In its finding, the Fitness to Practise committee rejected as 'not credible', Dr Mohamed's explanation of why his breath smelled of alcohol and stated that it was satisfied that there were no beer bottles in Dr X's car.

It found Dr Mohamed guilty of professional misconduct on one charge that he was under the influence of alcohol when he knew or ought to have known that he was scheduled for duty later that day. The committee's report will now be passed to the full Medical Council which will decide on an appropriate sanction.

Irish Independent

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