A cancer surgeon in Britain has been issued with a warning by Britain’s General Medical Council after he hit a Cork man with his car, causing severe head injuries.
The watchdog did not find that Nigel Bundred’s fitness to practise was impaired, despite his victim’s allegation that the doctor failed to assist him at the scene of the incident while waiting for an ambulance to arrive.
Last year the Irish Examiner reported that David O’Driscoll, 40, originally from Midleton, suffered a catastrophic brain injury and was in a coma after he was hit by a Mercedes-Benz driven by Prof Bundred in Wilmslow, south of Manchester, on the night of February 2, 2017.
Mr O’Driscoll, who was crossing the road at the time, had to have part of his skull removed and a metal plate inserted following the collision, and is still receiving rehabilitation treatment more than two years later.
In court, Prof Bundred pleaded not guilty to driving without due care and attention, and argued that he did not see Mr O’Driscoll because street lights were not working and his view was obscured by the pillar on his car door.
While there were no witnesses, CCTV from the nearby home of Aston Villa midfielder Glenn Whelan showed that Prof Bundred cut the corner so badly that at no stage was his vehicle on the correct side of the road.
Prof Bundred was found guilty of the offence at a criminal trial at Tameside Magistrates Court last year, and was fined £2,000, a victim surcharge of £170, and the prosecution costs of £850.
While the General Medical Council subsequently found that Prof Bundred’s conduct “risks bringing the profession into disrepute and must not be repeated”, it said that, in itself, is “not so serious as to require any restriction on his registration”, and that the issuing of a formal warning was appropriate.
Mr O’Driscoll obtained a copy of the 999 call Prof Bundred made following the incident. It showed he did not identify himself as a doctor to the operator, and that he did not follow directions on stemming the bleeding from Mr O’Driscoll’s head.
Despite his complaint, in a letter to Mr O’Driscoll last month the General Medical Council’s investigation officer told the father of two it was unlikely a tribunal would find Prof Bundred’s fitness to practise was impaired.
The case reasoning, seen by the Irish Examiner, states “that a reasonable Medical Practitioners Tribunal would be likely to conclude it was evident Professor Bundred was in a state of panic, shock, agitation, and confusion throughout the call, and that at that point he was reacting as a driver who feared he had caused a pedestrian serious injury rather than as an experienced surgeon”.
It says while good medical practice guidance advises that doctors should help in cases of emergency, “the doctor must take into account their own safety, their competence, and the availability of other options for care” and that investigators did not believe “the circumstances of this case were the sort of incident envisaged by the [General Medical Council] when issuing that guidance”.
Mr O’Driscoll said: “As my family and I suffer every day from the consequences of this injury, it is maddening to know that it was a doctor who did this to me. It is more maddening to know that at the moment in my life when I most needed a doctor, as I lay bleeding on the road, that the doctor was refusing a request to help me.”
“Many doctors have been involved in saving my life and helping me return to normal life and my experience has caused me to have the highest respect for the profession. Thinking of the excellent doctors who saved my life, I am glad that the General Medical Council have moved to uphold the standards of the profession and have seen fit to censure Dr Bundred.”