No finding of professional misconduct against doctor

A Medical Council Fitness to Practise Inquiry made no finding of professional misconduct against a former surgeon whose colleagues had raised numerous concerns about his competency.

A total of 14 allegations were made against Mihai Anton, from Romania, who worked at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Dublin.

Surgical staff at the hospital raised concerns 10 days after Dr Anton started work as a house officer in January 2013.

The doctor’s contract was terminated two months later following a disciplinary process and the hospital then wrote to the Medical Council about their concerns.

A finding of poor professional performance was made in relation to three of the allegations and similar findings were made to three sub-sections that formed part of two other allegations.

After deliberating for around five hours yesterday, the inquiry team found that the doctor was guilty of poor professional performance for being unable to write an accurate medical record and for failing to order and understand a medical test.

He was also found guilty of poor professional performance for obtaining parental consent for an incorrect medical procedure and for bringing a patient and family into a room that posed an infection risk. Signs had been put up warning that the room needed to be cleaned and should not be used.

Dr Anton was also found guilty of poor professional performance for contaminating a theatre’s sterile area; for turning up late on a day ward and for taking a two-hour lunch break, instead of 30 minutes.

A statement released by the hospital said the doctor did not work in an unsupervised capacity during any of his time there.

It said that the hospital and staff responded promptly when serious concerns were identified.

It also pointed out that, because of the close supervision of Dr Anton by hospital staff, no patient safety issues arose.

Dr Anton failed to attend the inquiry, despite being notified. In correspondence read to the inquiry, he said he had “nothing to declare about my activities in Ireland”.

The doctor, who had applied in late 2012 to work at the children’s hospital, said he felt harassed and would never return to Ireland.

Dr Anton, who was suspended by the hospital on January 24, 2013, had supplied the required paperwork and references. He had done a telephone interview for the post.

The hospital’s HR manager, Joan Troy, told the inquiry it was rare to do a telephone interview and said the hospital was accommodating Dr Anton, who was in Romania. She said the interview process had since changed to include a visual interview.

Expert witness Robert Wheeler, a consultant neonatal and paediatric surgeon at the University of Southampton, said there may have been communication issues and differences in the health system where Dr Anton worked in Romania compared to Ireland.

Any possible sanction to be levied against the doctor will be decided at a meeting of the Medical Council.

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