Probe hears sister suffered over ‘lack of proper cancer care’

The sister of a patient yesterday told a disciplinary inquiry that her sibling suffered greatly before her death from cancer because she did not receive proper care.

Emmanuel Gbadebo Alabi is the subject of the inquiry, which began yesterday at the Medical Council headquarters in Dublin 4.

Dr Emmanuel faces allegations of poor professional performance and professional misconduct in relation to his time at Mayo General Hospital.

Dr Emmanuel, who is based in Cork but trained in Belarus, was hired on a two-month contract as a Senior House Officer at the Mayo hospital from January-February 2009. This was his first clinical position in Ireland.

It is alleged that on or around January 29, 2009, Dr Emmanuel failed to bring a report regarding a chest X-ray examination carried out on patient Evelyn McGinn on 26 January to the attention of his supervisors.

It is also alleged that on or around January 29, 2009, Dr Emmanuel initialled the X-ray report in circumstances where he knew or ought to have known it required further consideration by his supervisors.

The inquiry heard that Ms McGinn passed away from cancer in November 2010.

In December 2008, around the time of her 50th birthday, Ms McGinn attended Mayo General Hospital complaining of post-menopausal bleeding and feeling unwell.

In January 2009, it was decided that an investigative hysteroscopy should be carried out.

On January 26, Ms McGinn was admitted to hospital for a chest X-ray, as a precaution before her surgery, scheduled for the following day. The surgery took place and she was discharged.

Ms McGinn returned to hospital a year later, in March 2010, feeling unwell, and was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer.

Leonie Kilroy, Ms McGinn’s sister, told the inquiry that her sister suffered from a great deal of pain during the final months of her life — so much so that the palliative care she received was unable to relieve her suffering.

Ms Kilroy said she believed her sister suffered greatly because she didn’t get a proper diagnosis when she was in hospital in January 2009.

The X-ray report recommended that Ms McGinn should be referred to a respiratory physician, the inquiry heard.

Ms Kilroy said there were a number of discrepancies on the X-ray report, including the date on it.

Following Ms McGinn’s death, her siblings requested access to her medical records. After reviewing these, the family raised concerns with the hospital in October 2011 and Ms Kilroy later made a complaint to the Medical Council.

Ronan Ryan, consultant radiologist at Mayo General Hospital, told the inquiry he interpreted the chest X-ray that was taken of Ms McGinn. Dr Ryan said he found no issues with her heart or lungs, although he did raise queries about the possibility of sarcoidosis, a multi-system inflammatory disorder. Because of this, he suggested a referral to a respiratory physician.

Ulrich Bartels, head of the obstetrics and gynaecological department at Mayo, told the inquiry the hospital offered Dr Emmanuel only a two-month locum contract, instead of the usual six-month contract, because they had no clinical references for him.

At the end of the two months, Dr Emmanuel’s contract was not renewed.

“We did not see sufficient progress in his clinical abilities,” Dr Bartels said.

The inquiry continues today.


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