Sunday 25 February 2018

Ex-medical chief 'failed to follow up on tests for cancer patient'

Kevin Keane

A FORMER president of the Medical Council cannot explain why he failed to follow up on tests ordered for a man who later died from cancer.

Consultant in general medicine Dr Colm Quigley made the admission before a Medical Council fitness to practise inquiry where he faces nine allegations of poor professional performance. Dr Quigley's barrister said his client "cannot offer an explanation for why the tests didn't take place".

The deceased, identified only as 'Patient X', was referred by his GP to Dr Quigley's private practice at the Ely Hospital, Wexford, on two separate occasions more than one year apart.

But despite ordering a series of tests for the man, Dr Quigley failed to ensure any of these tests were carried out. No allegation has been made that Dr Quigley's conduct caused or contributed to Patient X's death.

His widow, Mrs A, decided to make a complaint against Dr Quigley after he sent an appointment letter to her home following her husband's death. The letter stated: "I trust he is keeping well . . . I would be anxious to keep a watch on him".

Dr Quigley's barrister, Paul Anthony McDermott, told the inquiry yesterday: "Clearly mistakes were made, there was a breakdown in communication, tests were ordered and didn't happen."

Mr McDermott added that Dr Quigley "respectfully denies" that his conduct amounts to poor professional performance and said a paper-based system can lead to mistakes.

The inquiry heard that Patient X had complained to his GP of pain in his ankles and feet and was referred to Dr Quigley. His wife told the inquiry that following the first appointment with Dr Quigley in August 2009 she felt her husband was in "very good hands".

Among the allegations levelled against Dr Quigley is that he failed to ensure that all appropriate investigations were carried out in August 2009, and that he failed to recognise that these investigations had not been carried out when he met Patient X for a second time in December 2010. He also faces allegations that he failed to respond to the letters from Mrs A following her husband's death, on April 16, 2011.

In her evidence to the inquiry, Mrs A said following the first appointment, her husband made a call asking what had happened to his test appointments but he got no reply.

After her husband's death, Mrs A wrote to Dr Quigley three times by registered post asking why he didn't follow up on the appointments but she received no reply.

The inquiry committee will hear closing submissions before retiring to consider a ruling when the hearing continues today.

Irish Independent

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