Saturday 24 March 2018

Expert criticises process in botched kidney-op

Shane Hickey

A LEADING hospital consultant is unable to explain the exact circumstances of how a young boy had the wrong kidney removed during an operation at a prominent children's hospital.

Yesterday, an expert in paediatric surgery criticised the circumstances surrounding how the then six-year-old child had a healthy left kidney removed instead of one which functions at 9pc.

The Fitness to Practise committee of the Irish Medical Council is currently investigating allegations of professional misconduct against the two doctors involved --Professor Martin Corbally and registrar Sri Paran -- in the operation on March 21, 2008 at Our Lady's Hospital for Sick Children in Crumlin, Dublin.

The young boy was under the care of Prof Corbally, a consultant paediatric surgeon, who had incorrectly identified the healthy kidney for removal. The operation was carried out by Mr Paran.


Yesterday, the second day of the hearing of the case, counsel for Prof Corbally said it would be his evidence that he cannot explain fully the error in the case.

Eileen Barrington, for Prof Corbally, said it is believed the error was caused by incorrect notes on the case or that he was given the correct information but he himself made a transcription error.

The child's parents, Jennifer Stewart and her husband Oliver Conroy, say they had concerns about the organ which had been removed and asked staff at the hospital four times if the correct one was identified.

The bulk of yesterday's hearing was addressed by Robert Wheeler, an expert in paediatric and neonatal surgeon from the Wessex Regional Centre for Paediatric Surgery in the UK.

Mr Paran claims he was only told he would be operating on the child less than five minutes before the procedure took place.

Mr Wheeler agreed that if this was the case, it was an "exceedingly short time" to come to terms with what to do, and was undesirable.

The committee heard that the claim that the parents of the child had expressed their concern over whether the wrong kidney was to be extracted right up to a few minutes before the operation took place is disputed.

"The right thing to do is to satisfy oneself that the right kidney is being operated on," Mr Wheeler said.

Prof Corbally has previously accepted that he is ultimately responsible for a patient's safety and the error is a "cause of deep distress and regret for me". He has apologised to the family.

At the end of yesterday's hearing, seven of the 15 charges against Prof Corbally were dropped following legal argument from Ms Barrington.

The remaining allegations largely relate to the delegation of responsibility.

Irish Independent

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