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'Boy's skin drug risked stunting his growth'

AN 11-year-old boy suffering from psoriasis was prescribed a drug that carried a risk of stunting growth, an inquiry heard.

The boy attended the clinic of consultant dermatologist Dr Adam Jacobus Smith on three occasions between May and October 2008 for treatment.

Dr Smith prescribed Neotigason, which stops thickening of the skin cells seen in psoriasis.

But an expert witness told a medical council fitness to practise inquiry that he considered prescribing this drug to a child inappropriate because of potentially dangerous side-effects.

"The guidelines are to prescribe in exceptional circumstances. I do not consider this to be exceptional circumstances," said Dr James Clifford McMillan, a consultant dermatologist at Belfast City Hospital.

He was giving testimony in the case of Dr Smith, who faces more than 100 charges of poor professional performance and professional misconduct.



Complaints

The charges relate to 12 patients between 2006 and 2009, including the boy, who attended the Whitfield Clinic in Waterford.

All of these patients later came under the care of members of the Munster Dermatology Group, which lodged the complaints.

Dr Smith denies the claims.

The case was due to continue today.

jlast@herald.ie


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