Tuesday 23 January 2018

Top doctor guilty of poor performance over op blunder on girl (2)

Martin Corbally
Martin Corbally
Louise Hogan

Louise Hogan

A LEADING doctor whose two-year-old patient got the wrong operation has been found guilty of poor professional performance.

The Medical Council’s fitness-to-practise inquiry committee found Martin Corbally, then a paediatric consultant at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin, had failed to apply the appropriate standards of clinical judgement for a surgeon of his expertise.

It also found he had failed to communicate adequately when he delegated the operation on the two-year-old girl to his fourth-year surgical registrar Dr Fahran Khaliq Tareen.

Professor Gerry Bury, chair of the committee, said the fitness-to-practise committee believed there was “significant evidence of systems failure, weaknesses and errors in surgical procedures” at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin. He said there was “real concern” at the systems issues and it wanted the Medical Council to pursue those.

He said the committee had found three allegations against Prof Corbally had been proven beyond a reasonable doubt to amount to poor professional performance, and one allegation had been withdrawn.

The chair said the Medical Council would decide at a later date what, if any, sanction would be imposed.

Eileen Barrington SC, for Prof Corbally, who is currently in Bahrain where he is chair of staff at the King Hamad University Hospital, asked that the council consider the lowest of the sanctions such as “advice, admonishment and censure”.

The Medical Council also highlighted an inadequate surgical booking and coding system at the hospital and reported there was a lack of implementation of the hospital’s own correct site surgery policy.

Prof Bury said the inquiry would be detailing in its report that the Medical Council should pursue those issues.

The inquiry heard Prof Corbally booked an operation for the girl in April 2010, after her parents brought her to his private clinic. The operation was performed by another surgeon – who carried out the wrong procedure on the toddler.

Instead of having the skin on her upper lip cut, the skin underneath her tongue was sliced instead – meaning she faced more painful surgery.

Prof Corbally had not accepted the facts amounted to poor professional performance. He said concerns raised by the girl’s parents over their daughter being listed for the incorrect operation were never communicated to him prior to the operation.

Prof Corbally said he had filled out 'tongue tie (upper frenulum)' to book the girl onto the theatre list as the computer system had only one code - 'tongue tie release' - for these type of operations. However, the administrator never added the additional information - and 'upper frenulum' never appeared on the theatre list. Those computer codes have since been changed.

Prof Corbally has previously appeared before the Medical Council after a six-year-old boy under his care has the wrong kidney removed by another surgeon at Crumlin Hospital in 2008 – despite his parents raising concerns. There were no findings against either surgeon and the inquiry was halted in September 2010.

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