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Skin doctor who told patient to use sunbed is backed by expert

A SKIN doctor who advised a teenager to use sunbeds to treat psoriasis has been defended by a medical expert.

Dr John A Cotterill has said it was "a reasonable view" that limited time on a sunbed might benefit a patient and that the risk "was virtually immeasurable".

The retired consultant dermatologist has been giving evidence to a Medical Council fitness to practise inquiry in the case of Dr Adam Jacobus Smith.

Dr Smith, inset, is accused of poor professional performance and professional misconduct on more than 100 grounds in relation to his treatment of the teenager and 11 other patients who attended his surgery in the Whitfield Clinic, Waterford, between 2006 and 2009.

He has accepted a number of the charges against him as to fact, but denies any of the allegations under examination amount to poor professional performance or professional misconduct.

The 17-year-old attended Dr Smith's clinic with his mother in August 2008 as the teenager was about to go on holiday and was self-conscious about his psoriasis, a condition which can leave the skin inflamed and flaky.

Dr Smith prescribed the drug methotrextrate and told the patient that he could use sunbeds, but to limit this to two sessions over two weeks.

Giving evidence Dr Cotterill said: "I have lost sleep over a lot of things that have come before me in this case but I would't lose sleep over the sunbeds."

Dr Cotterill said he was more critical of Dr Smith's failure to monitor the teenager after prescribing methotrextrate.

Dr Smith has admitted as to fact that he prescribed methotrextrate without first providing a test dose to the patient and that he failed to monitor the patient regularly. The case continues.