Doctor faces misconduct charges

A SENIOR doctor at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda has been accused of professional misconduct over his alleged failure to properly diagnose the results of an MRI scan on a man who died a short time later.

Dr John Hanson, 40, a consultant radiologist from Malahide, Co Dublin, appeared before the Irish Medical Council’s Fitness to Practise Committee yesterday on nine charges of professional misconduct.

They relate to his care of a patient, Mark Haran who was admitted twice to Our Lady’s Hospital in the space of 10 days in early 2008 with complaints of prolonged headaches, dizziness and vertigo. He died as a result of brain damage at Beaumont Hospital in Dublin on April 4, 2008.

Mr Haran — a 23-year-old business graduate from Moorechurch, Julianstown, Co Meath — was originally discharged from Our Lady’s Hospital on March 28, 2008, on the basis that his MRI scan was essentially normal but he was readmitted five days later before being transferred to Beaumont.

The inquiry is the result of formal complaints against Dr Hanson made to the IMC by Our Lady’s Hospital and the deceased’s parents, John and Barbara Haran.

A hospital intern, Dr Udim Damachi, told the hearing she been asked on March 27, 2008, to obtain a verbal report from Dr Hanson on a MRI scan conducted on Mr Haran. She claimed Dr Hanson informed her that it showed that part of the patient’s brain was enlarged but he was otherwise normal.

Under cross-examination by lawyers for Dr Hanson, Dr Damachi denied the radiologist had suggested that Mr Haran’s brain was “grossly enlarged” but she had recorded a note that the swelling was prominent.

Solicitor for the IMC, J P McDowell told the inquiry Dr Hanson was not immediately available to review Mr Haran’s scan on April 2 after his readmission to Our Lady’s and when he did a few hours later he recommended that the case should be reviewed at a meeting of the medical team on the following morning. However, Mr Haran’s condition deteriorated overnight.

The committee heard Dr Hanson had apologised to the Haran family. It was also informed that the radiologist was insisting that he had told Dr Damachi that Mr Haran had gross swelling of the brain but that he had not recommended any further action.

The inquiry heard the radiologist regretted the fact that he had not consulted a professional colleague to review Mr Haran’s scan which he considered “an aberration” on his part.

An inquest into Mr Haran’s death at the Dublin City Coroner’s Court last year returned a verdict of death by medical misadventure with his death linked to hydrocephalus. The coroner, Dr Brian Farrell, claimed there had been clear evidence of breakdown in communication between medical staff in the case.

The IMC hearing continues today.

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