Thursday 14 December 2017

Doctor who mistook ankle for an elbow among 11 struck off

(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

Eleven doctors have been struck off the medical register in the last two years, new figures reveal.

Certain groups of doctors are more likely to be subject to the toughest sanctions after a fitness-to-practise inquiry finds them guilty of professional misconduct or poor professional performance.

They tend to be men, younger doctors, medics who qualified outside of Ireland, and non-specialists.

Several complaints against doctors now require intense investigation. Twice as many days of inquiry hearings took place in 2016 as 2015, said Bill Prasifka, chief executive of the Medical Council.

An analysis of 2,000 complaints by the council found male doctors are twice as likely to be the subject of allegations as female doctors.

An Irish doctor is more likely to be subject to complaint - but strongest penalties were imposed on doctors who qualified elsewhere in the EU.

Doctors who do not have legal representation at the fitness-to-practise hearing also have a higher chance of being struck off.

Doctors who were struck off include a medic who over-prescribed sleeping pills to a patient who was addicted to them.

In another case a doctor was struck off for professional misconduct and poor professional performance.

Among other issues it was found he mistook an ankle for an elbow in an X-ray.

The doctor worked in three different hospitals around the country.

The Medical Council analysis of complaints found doctors aged 56-64 are significantly less likely to experience a tough sanction.

Only a minority of doctors are struck off and the majority who are found guilty are subject to other sanctions which can range from being admonished to censure by attaching conditions to their registration.

Doctors who have health issues, including addiction or high levels of depression, can be referred to a health committee of the council to support their recovery and treatment.

Irish Independent

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