Friday 24 November 2017

Surgeon 'is being made scapegoat' over mum's death

Louise Hogan

Louise Hogan

A SURGEON accused of multiple failures in the treatment of a mother-of-13 is being made a "scapegoat" over a lack of facilities at a small hospital, an expert witness has told a medical council hearing.

Dr Syed Naqvi was brought before a Medical Council fitness-to-practise hearing to face 11 allegations in relation to the care of Tina Sherlock (39).

Mrs Sherlock, from Childers Road, Ennis, Co Clare, died following three operations at Mid West Regional Hospital, five months after losing her unborn child on July 15, 2008.

She had presented with pains in her right-hand side while 17 weeks pregnant on June 22, 2008.

But she only was correctly diagnosed with appendicitis in November, following CT scan results

Her husband James Sherlock told how every day has been "a struggle" for him and their 13 children since her death.

Ian Finlay, a consultant surgeon at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, who appeared as an expert witness on behalf of Mr Naqvi, said the decision being faced by the surgeon at Ennis hospital -- where there was no CT scanner on site -- was "extraordinarily difficult".

"It is very unfortunate because of a lack of facilities to make a surgeon the scapegoat for his best intentions," he said.

Eileen Barrington, counsel for Mr Naqvi, said consultants at Ennis had written previously to the Medical Council to point out safety was at risk due to the lack of a CT scanner and other equipment at the hospital.


The inquiry heard following a probe by HIQA the hospital was found to be unsafe for acute emergency care and the A&E at Ennis was closed in 2009.

However, the Medical Council's expert witness, UK consultant Anthony Peel, was highly critical of the treatment of Mrs Sherlock -- including the three operations performed by Mr Naqvi from late November to December and an alleged failure to arrange a CT scan at Limerick.

Mr Peel argued Mrs Sherlock should have been transferred to the larger Mid-Western Regional Hospital, Dooradoyle, Limerick -- which had access to a CT scanner and a fully-equipped intensive care unit -- prior to the third major operation being carried out on December 8, 2010. He said the third and final operation was "dangerous" on such an ill patient.

She was transferred after the operation and died two days later on December 10, 2010, from multi-organ failure due to sepsis.

Mr Peel said he believed it amounted to professional misconduct not to send her to Limerick for a CT scan following the first operation.

Mr Finlay disagreed, and described it as an "unusual situation" regarding the lack of scan facilities. He believed it would have taken a day to organise it and the logistics and comfort of a seriously ill patient had to be taken into account.

He conceded it would have been better to have a CT scan prior to the final major surgery, however, it might not have added much information.

He said the culture in the hospital was that they were used to "dealing with their own complications".

Mr Finlay said the post-operative care in the ICU at Ennis was not what would have been expected in 2008.

"It was debatable if it was even a high-dependency unit," he said. The inquiry continues.

Irish Independent

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