Westmeath obstetrician 'relieved' as Medical Council dismisses case against her over 'weak' evidence

Westmeath obstetrician 'relieved' as Medical Council dismisses case against her over 'weak' evidence
Cavan General Hospital

A fitness to practice inquiry into the alleged actions of a Westmeath doctor who was accused of having performed a vaginal examination on a patient without first obtaining her consent has been dismissed by the Medical Council.

Dr Rita Mehta, a consultant obstetrician at Cavan General Hospital, had previously told the inquiry that she had obtained consent, and would not have carried out the procedure if she hadn’t.

The procedure was carried out on May 13, 2014, after a pregnant woman, Siobhan Whelan, had presented at the hospital.

Ms Whelan's son was subsequently delivered by caesarean section, but died less than a day after delivery.

In her evidence on September 2, Ms Whelan said she had insisted to Dr Mehta that she did not wish to have her waters broken.

The committee chair, John Harkin, said that the evidence of Ms Whelan and her husband Andrew had been undermined by contrasting evidence given by midwives Ann Arnott and Olive McKeague, who contradicted Ms Whelan’s assertion that her waters had been broken without her consent.

Mr Harkin said that the committee accepted the midwives’ assertion that they had not intervened with Ms Mehta, nor had protocol been abandoned in any way.

The committee said that the suggestion that stirrups had been used on Ms Whelan’s legs could not be proven, and that such an action would not have been warranted in her case.

“We are driven to the conclusion that Siobhan Whelan, while doing her best, is not correct in her evidence, and her feet were not in stirrups. This may be attributed due to the trauma of the event and the stress it placed upon the Whelans. However that recollection is not reliable,” he said.

The committee is mindful that if the evidence is so weak or tenuous, or has a lack of foundation in common sense, then such evidence does not meet the threshold to allow a finding of fact to the required standard.

“The evidence is not sufficient to support a finding that the remaining allegation can be proven as fact,” Mr Harkin said, in granting an application to dismiss the allegations.

Speaking after the case was dismissed Ms Mehta said that she was “very relieved” at the committee’s findings.

The Whelans were not present for the release of the findings.

More on this topic

New mothers ‘suffering in silence’ over health problemsNew mothers ‘suffering in silence’ over health problems

587 patients waiting for beds in hospitals587 patients waiting for beds in hospitals

Ask a counsellor: ‘My husband is so controlling – what do I do?’Ask a counsellor: ‘My husband is so controlling – what do I do?’

Demand for ADHD services doubles in two yearsDemand for ADHD services doubles in two years


More in this Section

First longer Luas tram up and running on Green LineFirst longer Luas tram up and running on Green Line

Beef talks paused due to protestorsBeef talks paused due to protestors

Compensating victims of historic abuse in the North ‘remains a big priority’Compensating victims of historic abuse in the North ‘remains a big priority’

Don't succumb to the narrative of fear: Priest hits out at growing opposition to asylum seekersDon't succumb to the narrative of fear: Priest hits out at growing opposition to asylum seekers


Lifestyle

To instantly power up your look, veer towards the hard shoulder.Bold shoulder: How to instantly power up your look

Plums are a wonderful autumn fruit, useful for all sorts of recipes both sweet and savoury. In Ireland we are blessed with wonderfully sweet plums.Currabinny Cooks: Juicy plums work for both sweet and savoury dishes

The rise of home skincare devices doesn't mean that salons and clinics no longer serve a purpose.The Skin Nerd: Don’t try this at home — new treatments in the salon

Millions of gamers watched Fortnite reach breaking point on Sunday night, with ten seasons of mysterious storyline culminating in meteors hitting the island and everything disappearing.GameTech: End of beginning for Fortnite as Chapter 2 finally goes live

More From The Irish Examiner