A young doctor’s clinical performance was “deficient” and he failed to take advice or show improvement, a disciplinary inquiry heard yesterday.
Colleagues at another hospital were so concerned the doctor posed a threat to patient safety that he was placed on leave just two months into his placement.
Dr Omar Hassan Khalafalla Mohamed, whose medical registration is currently suspended, is before the inquiry taking place at the Medical Council headquarters in Dublin 2.
Dr Hassan faces a number of allegations relating to events that occurred and care he provided while working as a senior house officer (SHO) at the Midlands Regional Hospital Portlaoise, Mayo General Hospital, and University Hospital Galway. Dr Hassan denies the allegations.
Dr Amir Siddiqui told the inquiry there were “deficiencies” in Dr Hassan’s clinical performance. “Collectively, my feeling was that he was not a team player,” he said.
Dr Siddiqui was working as a consultant and was the clinical lead in the surgery department at the Midlands Regional Hospital Portlaoise during the time Dr Hassan worked there in 2012.
Asked his opinion of Dr Hassan’s clinical performance, Dr Siddiqui said: “Overall, it was deficient.”
He said the deficiencies Dr Hassan seemingly displayed were skills one would expect an intern to know, let alone an SHO.
Dr Siddiqui said he and his colleagues met with Dr Hassan and tried to support him so he could become accustomed to his role and the hospital, as this was Dr Hassan’s first post in Ireland.
Dr Siddiqui said “as time passed, you can see more avenues and angles where there were deficiencies”.
He said there were numerous opportunities for Dr Hassan to take advice but he never did, and did not show improvement.
Under cross-examination, Dr Hassan asked whether he himself demonstrated a pattern of aggressive behaviour during his time at Portlaoise.
“Yes, there was a behavioural problem,” Dr Siddiqui replied.
He said that, on one day in October 2012, he went to the emergency department to look for Dr Hassan, as the nurses said they had been trying to contact him.
Dr Siddiqui said he found Dr Hassan in a break room near the emergency department. He said he told Dr Hassan he could finish his break and then resume work.
Yesterday, Dr Hassan told Dr Siddiqui he found it very intimidating to his personal space that Dr Siddiqui came to him in the small break room to tell him to return to work. He said he has never had another consultant do that with him, and that he found it “a bit intimidating and invasive”.
James Keane, the medical manpower — or HR — officer at University Hospital Galway, also gave evidence yesterday regarding Dr Hassan’s time at the hospital, where he was employed as an orthopaedic SHO in 2014.
Mr Keane said a number of problems materialised early on with Dr Hassan, both with nursing and medical staff.
He said the consultants working with Dr Hassan, concerned about his abilities, put safeguards in place early on so he was not placed on call and put under close supervision.
Dr Hassan began his six-month contract at University Hospital Galway in January 2014 but was placed on administrative leave the next month due to concerns from colleagues over patient safety, said Mr Keane.
As happened on Wednesday, yesterday’s proceedings got off to a fitful start. In the morning, Dr Hassan requested that the inquiry be adjourned for at least two weeks so that he might secure legal counsel.
He told the inquiry there were two firms that had agreed to represent him, pending the case being adjourned.
Although Dr Hassan is currently representing himself, he has continued to seek legal representation throughout the inquiry, which began on Monday. The proceedings have been adjourned briefly on several occasions this week in order to facilitate his search.
Dr Hassan’s request yesterday for an adjournment was refused, however, and the inquiry proceeded.
Dr Hassan worked at the Midlands Regional Hospital Portlaoise from July 2012 to January 1, 2013, and at Mayo General Hospital in December 2013. He worked as an orthopaedic SHO at University Hospital Galway in January and February 2014.
He is accused of professional misconduct and poor professional performance.
The inquiry continues.
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