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 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.