‘Someone off street would do a better job’

A doctor’s level of competence was so low that “someone off the street” would do a better job than he did, a disciplinary inquiry heard yesterday.

It was also claimed the senior house officer (SHO) in question “doesn’t know what it means to be a doctor” and was unaware of “how basic his deficiencies were”.

Omar Hassan Khalafalla Mohamed was up before the ongoing inquiry taking place at the Medical Council headquarters in Dublin 2.

Dr Hassan faces a number of allegations relating to time he spent working at the Midlands Regional Hospital Portlaoise, Mayo General Hospital, and University Hospital Galway.

Dr Hassan, whose medical registration has been suspended since March 2015, denies the allegations.

Consultant orthopaedic surgeon Aiden Devitt, who worked at University Hospital Galway while Dr Hassan was there in early 2014, yesterday told the inquiry that Dr Hassan was taken off unsupervised duty after his first weekend on call.

Mr Devitt said Dr Hassan, originally from Sudan, demonstrated a lack of basic medical knowledge expected of an SHO, as well as basic hospital protocols regarding the prescription of medication and maintaining a sterile environment in theatre.

Mr Devitt told Dr Hassan yesterday: “I got the strong sense you genuinely did not understand how basic your deficiencies were.”

However, Mr Devitt told the inquiry he was more concerned about Dr Hassan’s apparent unwillingness to learn from others: “The fact is, you didn’t seem to accept that you need to know those things and knowing those things is [essential] for patient safety on the ward. I don’t think you know what it means to be a doctor.”

Mr Devitt said after their first weekend working with Dr Hassan, two colleagues checked if he was a registered medical doctor, as he was “so far off the scale in terms of your competencies... If you pulled someone off the street they would make a better fist of it than you did”.

Mr Devitt said he has worked with a number of doctors from Sudan and has always been very impressed with their high level of training and clinical abilities.

Dr Hassan said a number of events described by Mr Devitt did not occur as the consultant described them, and he disputed a number of Mr Devitt’s claims. Dr Hassan said he has been academically successful throughout his life, and trained at a very prestigious university.

“‘To be a good doctor, you have to have a sense of responsibility, more so than being bright,” Mr Devitt replied. “You can be the brightest person in all of Sudan and yet not [possess] the abilities to practice safely as a doctor.”

On Friday, the inquiry heard about concerns about Dr Hassan’s awareness of hospital protocols on child abuse raised by a registrar who observed him assessing a young child, who presented to A&E with a bone fracture.

Yesterday, Dr Hassan proffered the theory that the child was a ‘fake’ patient, but did not elaborate on this.

The inquiry continues today.


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