Surgeon rejects claims over mother-of-13’s death

A consultant surgeon at Ennis General Hospital who carried out three operations on a 39-year-old mother who subsequently died has denied poor performance.

Dr Syed Naqvi, who worked at Ennis General Hospital between 2005 and 2009, appeared at a fitness-to-practise hearing of the Irish Medical Council and denied 11 allegations of professional misconduct and/or poor professional performance in relation to his treatment of Tina Sherlock.

The committee heard Dr Naqvi inadvertently removed part of Ms Sherlock’s colon during one of three operations on her at Ennis General Hospital during a 17-day period in late 2008.

Ms Sherlock, of Childer’s Rd, Ennis, a mother of 13 children now aged between 8 and 25, died from multi-organ failure on Dec 10, 2008, at the Mid-West Regional Hospital, Limerick.

The committee heard Ms Sherlock was referred to Ennis General Hospital in June 2008 by her GP after complaining about abdominal pain while pregnant with her 14th child. The baby was born prematurely on Jul 15 and later died.

Dr Naqvi is facing disciplinary charges in relation to three operations he performed on his patient between Nov 22 and Dec 8, 2008, and his alleged failure to arrange CT scans for her.

The IMC committee heard the third operation was inappropriate and Dr Naqvi failed to arrange a timely post-operative resuscitation and monitoring of Ms Sherlock.

Ms Sherlock’s husband, James, said they were reassured by Dr Naqvi before each operation that everything would be fine.

“I’m devastated since my wife passed away,” said Mr Sherlock. “Every day has been a struggle since.”

Dr Naqvi, now based at the Mid-West Regional Hospital, is originally from Pakistan but holds Irish citizenship. He has worked in Ireland since 1985.

Eileen Barrington SC, for Dr Naqvi, said two surgeons had retired from Ennis General Hospital in early 2008 and were not replaced.

She said these surgeons had warned the Minister for Health and the Irish Medical Council in 2005 about the inadequacy of surgical facilities and consultant staffing at the hospital. She also said a report by Hiqa on the hospital in 2009 found its configuration of specialist services for acute and complex surgery unsafe and the department was subsequently closed later that year.

Ms Barrington said the allegation that Dr Naqvi had failed to diagnose appendicitis in Ms Sherlock could have been made against a significant number of other doctors who had treated her in three different hospitals over a number of months.

She said Dr Naqvi could not be held responsible for a two-month delay between making a request for a CT scan and getting its results.

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