Doctor failed to provide adequate care, inquiry told

A paediatric expert has told a Medical Council inquiry the doctor under review failed to provide adequate care to an infant, who now suffers from cerebral palsy.

Kevin Connolly told the fitness to practice inquiry that, in his opinion, consultant paediatrician Mohammad Ilyas Khan, failed to put in place an adequate treatment plan for the care of the baby, known as ‘BT’, who was born on June 15, 2012.

The allegations claim that Dr Khan, who was working at South Tipperary General Hospital in June 2012, did not put an adequate treatment plan in place following the baby’s birth and diagnosis of hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy (hypoxia), or lack of oxygen to the brain.

Last month, the inquiry was told that when the baby was approximately three hours old, within a critical six-hour time frame, Dr Khan and his registrar, Amin Abdelrahim, discussed the possibility of the cooling treatment. However, Dr Khan felt the baby did not meet the criteria for the cooling treatment.

On Monday, Dr Connolly told the inquiry that BT fully met the criteria for the cooling treatment.

Yesterday, Dr Connolly said that, in his expert opinion, Dr Khan failed to provide adequate care for BT, failed to consider the guidelines of the National Neo-Natal Transport Programme in respect to the transfer of infants for hypothermic treatment, and failed to arrange for the transfer of BT to a neonatal intensive care unit for specialist treatment to include hypothermic treatment, amongst other failures. Dr Connolly said that, in his opinion, all these failures amounted to poor professional performance.

One of the allegations against Dr Khan claims that, on the two days following BT’s birth, while the baby was displaying seizure-type activity, Dr Khan told his mother her baby was “fine”.

Dr Connolly yesterday said: “The parents should have been told that baby BT’s condition was serious. Using the word ‘fine’ means that there are no particular concerns and, certainly in this case, there were concerns.

“I don’t feel the word ‘fine’ reflects the situation.”

He added that ‘fine’ and ‘stable’ do not mean the same thing.

Solicitor Eugene Gleeson, representing Dr Khan, suggested that his client was not properly informed of convulsive activity or abnormal movement that may have been displayed by the baby in the early hours of his life.

“Why is Dr Khan being asked to face allegations when he has not been kept properly informed by his eyes and ears in the hospital?” Mr Gleeson asked.

 

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