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Sunday 25 February 2018

Surgeon cleared of misconduct over mum-of-13's death

Breda Heffernan

Breda Heffernan

A SURGEON has been cleared of all charges of professional misconduct in the case of a mother of 13 who died five months after losing her unborn child.

Consultant Dr Syed Naqvi faced 11 allegations of professional misconduct and poor professional performance, including that he failed to transfer Tina Sherlock (39) to a larger hospital for a CT scan.

Mrs Sherlock died at the Mid-Western Regional Hospital in Limerick from multi-organ failure due to sepsis on December 10, 2008.

She had undergone three operations at the Mid-Western Hospital in Ennis in the weeks previously.

An expert witness who appeared on behalf of the Medical Council argued that Mrs Sherlock should have been transferred from Ennis to Limerick -- which had a CT scanner and a fully-equipped intensive care unit -- before the bowel operation was performed.

Yesterday, the fitness to practice committee cleared Dr Naqvi of all charges saying it was not proven that the surgeon had failed to arrange the patient's transfer to Limerick within an adequate period of time.

As he left the Medical Council headquarters in Dublin yesterday, Dr Naqvi declined to comment to reporters but nodded when asked if he was relieved at the outcome.

Closed

The inquiry heard that Ennis had no CT scanner and that a number of consultants had written to then Health Minister Mary Harney in 2005 highlighting their concerns.

However, they received no response to their letters and by the time Mrs Sherlock was being treated the hospital still had no scanner.

A probe by watchdog HIQA later found Ennis to be unsafe for acute emergency care. The Accident and Emergency Unit was closed in 2009 and Dr Naqvi was transferred to Limerick.

Senior counsel for Dr Naqvi, Eileen Barrington, said consultants at Ennis had been "clamouring" for a CT scanner and it was not her client's fault that there was none.

She said it had been a very tragic outcome for Mrs Sherlock's husband, James, and their children and her client thought "endlessly" about the case.

"This is a good doctor, this is a caring doctor. He is dedicated to his patients. . . he said, 'you can set your clock by my ward rounds'," she added.

Ms Barrington told how Dr Naqvi had given up his private practice at a Galway clinic in favour of his public patients and because he was the only surgeon at Ennis.

"He was doing his best in what were difficult circumstances," she said.

Irish Independent

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