Friday 15 November 2019

Leading surgeon in second fitness probe after wrong mouth operation on girl

Prof Corbally said he felt this was
Prof Corbally said he felt this was "unreasonable", blaming "simple human error" and that he was "probably quite tired" after many nights on call.
Louise Hogan

Louise Hogan

A LEADING surgeon has been caught up in a second set of allegations over a wrong operation on a child.

Professor Martin Corbally was at the centre of controversy when a young boy had the wrong kidney removed at Our Lady's Children's Hospital, Crumlin, in 2008.

Now he faces another fitness to practise inquiry over an incorrect operation that was carried out on the mouth of a two-year-old girl.

The girl received an incision to the skin under her tongue instead of the intended incision to the skin behind her upper lip.

Both procedures were carried out by colleagues of Prof Corbally while the children were in his care.

The toddler's mother yesterday revealed how she had raised concerns with staff at Our Lady's Children's Hospital on whether they were carrying out the correct upper lip procedure on her daughter on April 30, 2010.


The girl's mother told how her daughter was on medication for the pain, drooled constantly and her "tongue was hanging out of her mouth" following the procedures.

She said her daughter was now "well" and in school.

Prof Corbally, who was a consultant paediatric surgeon at the Crumlin hospital in 2010, faced allegations before a Medical Council fitness to practise committee yesterday.

Prof Corbally watched proceedings via video link from Bahrain, where is currently involved in setting up King Hamad University Hospital.

The allegations include failing to adequately communicate when he delegated the operation to Dr Farhan Tareen, a fourth year surgical registrar.

Dr Tareen said that Prof Corbally told him to go to the theatre, and do the "tongue tie" - and the professor agreed this had happened.

A number of allegations against Dr Tareen were yesterday withdrawn. Prof Corbally previously appeared before the Medical Council, along with a specialist surgical registrar, after a young six-year-old boy under his care had the wrong healthy kidney removed at Crumlin in 2008.

The inquiry in relation to the botched kidney operation was halted in September 2010 with no findings made, and the doctors were required to give a number of undertakings about future conduct.

Yesterday's hearing was told that a young girl referred to as 'Baby X' was admitted for a day procedure after a visit to Prof Corbally's private rooms.

Her mother Siobhan told how she had raised concerns after staff mentioned a 'tongue tie' operation.

The inquiry heard the young girl required an operation to cut an upper labial frenulum -- the bridge of skin which extended between her front teeth to her upper lip. It was causing her mouth ulcers and pushing her front teeth apart.

Instead, a lingual frenulum commonly known as a 'tongue tie release' was carried out. This involves cutting the skin between the tongue and the floor of the mouth.

The inquiry heard that after the initial operation, Prof Corbally had asked Dr Tareen to speak to the girl's parents and seek consent to the second operation.

Prof Corbally phoned the parents as they brought their daughter home after the second operation, and apologised.

The inquiry heard the computer system used at the hospital to create the theatre list had only one code 'tongue tie release' for these type of operations.


There was an option to include additional information but this wasn't used by the administrator in this case. The system has since been changed.

Senior house officer Fatima Al Oraifi told how she underlined the word 'upper' frenulum on the consent form as she realised "confusion" might happen in theatre, but did not speak with the surgical team as she expected to be present.

Eileen Barrington, counsel for Prof Corbally, said that he did not accept it amounted to professional misconduct. She said various people did not communicate matters as per hospital policy.

Among the allegations faced by Prof Corbally were that he incorrectly described the procedure in February 2010, he failed to communicate adequately when delegating the procedure, and did not apply the appropriate standards of clinical judgment expected of a surgeon with his expertise. Prof Corbally was a key figure behind one of the bids to provide a site for the new National Children's Hospital. He was one of the main backers of the site at Lissenhall near Swords being proposed by Broadmeadow Healthcare Management.

The inquiry continues today.

Irish Independent

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