Thursday 26 April 2018

My sister suffered after wrong skin cure, says carer

Eimear Ni Bhraonain

A CARER broke down in tears yesterday as she described her disabled sister's suffering after her doctor failed to diagnose her with a rare skin disease.

The patient, who is now 67, had to be hospitalised days after attending consultant dermatologist Adam Jacobus Smith in Aut Even hospital in Kilkenny.

Dr Smith appeared before a Medical Council fitness-to-practise inquiry in Waterford for a third day yesterday, where he faced allegations relating to professional misconduct and poor professional performance.

The allegations surround treatment given to 12 patients from March 2006 to May 2009.

In the case of 'Patient L', Dr Smith is accused of failing to diagnose her with a blistering skin disease -- known as pemphigus vulgarus -- that can lead to death in some patients.

Patient L, who was born with limb deformities and uses a wheelchair, had attended Dr Smith's clinic from January to March 2011.

Her sister described bringing Patient L to Dr Smith as there was a rash all over her body.

"He was very nice," she said, adding that "we were delighted" when the dermatologist confirmed her sister had psoriasis.

Dr Smith treated the patient by injecting her with a drug.

In doing so, it is alleged that he "failed to have regard to the relevant guidelines, such as the British Association of Dermatology Guidelines for Biologic Interventions for Psoriasis before prescribing Sterara, a biological drug, to Patient L".


The patient's carer became alarmed when her sister's condition deteriorated.

Dr Smith advised her he did not think it was necessary for her sister to be hospitalised.

However, the woman sought a second opinion from her GP and was admitted to Waterford Regional Hospital (WRH).

The woman eventually made a recovery after being treated by consultant dermatologist at WRH, Dr Colin Buckley.

Dr Buckley gave evidence of examining the patient.

He said pemphigus vulgarus looks "quite different" than psoriasis -- and a dermatologist would know this.

Dr Buckley is one of the consultants in the Munster Dermatology Group who reported their concerns about Dr Smith to the Medical Council.

Dr Smith , who qualified as a doctor in 1973, worked as a consultant dermatologist at the Whitfield clinic in Waterford, Aut Even hospital in Kilkenny and Barringtons Hospital in Limerick.

The inquiry continues in September.

Irish Independent

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