A doctor was ‘very angry’ and ‘aggressive’ towards two nurses, a medical inquiry heard yesterday.
Omar Hassan Khalafalla Mohamed, during an incident in October 2012, had acted unprofessionally with several of his colleagues, it was claimed. Dr Hassan, with an address in Dublin 15, is the subject of a disciplinary inquiry taking place at the Medical Council headquarters in Dublin.
He faces a number of allegations relating to events that occurred and medical care he provided while working as a senior house officer at the Midlands Regional Hospital Portlaoise, Co Laois, Mayo General Hospital and University Hospital Galway. Dr Hassan denies the allegations.
One of the allegations claims on October 5, 2012, he spoke with two nurses in an aggressive manner.
Mary Brennan Conway, who has worked as a health- care assistant at Portlaoise hospital for 19 years, yesterday told the inquiry on the day in question, Dr Hassan shouted at student nurse Ethel Cathill and nurse Elaine McEvoy.
Ms Conway said Dr Hassan came into the day ward, where she and the two nurses were. He was ‘so angry’ and wanted to know the name of the nurse who bleeped him. Nurse McEvoy had been trying to contact, or bleep, Dr Hassan because she required his assistance in consenting patients and admitting them to theatre.
“That day he was very angry and I was afraid for the nurse,” she said, referring to Ms Cathill. “His tone and his body language was not right. It was aggressive.”
Ms Conway said she could hear shouting from the nurses’ station. “His tone was very bad and you could tell he was angry,” she said.
Ms Conway asked Ms McEvoy to assist Ms Cathill, and then another colleague, Mary Delaney, to assist Ms McEvoy, as Ms Cathill had resumed nursing duties.
Under cross-examination by Dr Hassan, Ms Conway told him: “Your body language and tone was wrong. I did not like it.” When Dr Hassan asked her to be specific about body language, Ms Conway said: “You kept pushing [Ethel] into the corner. When a girl is reversing into a corner something is wrong there.”
Speaking to Dr Hassan, she said: “Your tone of voice was loud and angry.”
Nurse Mary Delaney, who was also involved in the incident, told the inquiry Dr Hassan shouted in her face and invaded her personal space by standing within inches of her.
“His tone and body language was so invasive of our personal space,” she said.
Ms Delaney told the inquiry of the importance of preparing patients in the day ward for theatre in a timely manner, and of the adverse effect that delays had on patients. She said the day ward closes at a certain time, and if patients are not seen to that day, their surgeries can be delayed.
Ethel Cathill, who was a student nurse at the time of the incident on October 5, 2012, said Dr Hassan “approached the ward in an aggressive manner, at a fast pace — not in a professional manner” on that day.
Ms Cathill said she didn’t feel at risk from Dr Hassan but he was in close proximity to her and she felt he was acting unprofessionally.
“I felt uncomfortable in the situation but not threatened,” she said.
On Tuesday, a distressed Elaine McEvoy told the inquiry that on October 5, 2012, Dr Hassan came into the day ward where she was and became very aggressive with her. This was after she had tried to contact him for over two hours, she said.
Dr Hassan has vehemently denied Nurse McEvoy’s version of events, and said that she spoke towards him in an abusive manner.
There were several starts and stops to the inquiry yesterday. In the morning, speaking via telephone, Dr Hassan submitted an application to have the inquiry adjourned until today, so he might have more time to secure legal representation.
After considering the matter, the inquiry committee chairman Michael Ryan said it was clear Dr Hassan had already been aware of his right to representation and had adequate notice of the inquiry. However, to assist the doctor in his search for representation, the proceedings were adjourned until the afternoon.
When proceedings resumed, Dr Hassan requested the inquiry be adjourned for another 40 minutes so that a colleague of his might be able to attend the inquiry and provide support. This request was also granted.
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