A number of colleagues expressed concerns over the doctor’s ability to perform his duties just days after he took up a post, the inquiry also heard.
Dr Omar Hassan Khalafalla Mohamed, whose medical registration is suspended, is the subject of the inquiry at the Medical Council HQ in Dublin 2.
The SHO faces a number of allegations relating to events that occurred and care he provided while working at the Midlands Regional Hospital Portlaoise, Mayo General Hospital, and University Hospital Galway. He denies the allegations.
One allegation claims on September 24, 2012, while Dr Hassan was working at Portlaoise, he unsuccessfully attempted to cannulate — or insert an IV line — into a patient on a number of occasions, causing her pain.
The patient, a mother referred to as AK, told the inquiry she was due to have surgery on that day. In order to provide AK with IV fluid, Dr Hassan attempted to insert a needle into her arms several times but was unable to find a vein.
AK said that, after several attempts, she knew the line was not in correctly so she asked Dr Hassan to stop. She became distressed because Dr Hassan continued his attempts to insert the needle. She said Dr Hassan went away but then returned and again tried to cannulate her. AK said she started to cry at this point. The nurse comforted her, but then left the room so that Dr Hassan and AK were alone.
AK told the inquiry that Dr Hassan then leaned towards her and said: “You make no complaint about me or my work.”
AK said: “I was taken aback by it.” She did not feel confident in Dr Hassan’s ability to cannulate her. “I knew myself the needle wasn’t in the vein. I’ve had many lines in over the years and I’m not afraid of needles. But on this occasion I didn’t feel confident that he knew what he was doing.”
AK said that when he first began to look for a vein, she was joking with Dr Hassan but as it continued, she got quite upset. “I felt he was a bit aggressive towards me. I felt quite intimidated.” He apologised for the pain she had felt, and said their main objective was to provide better care for her. “I didn’t mean to hurt you,” he said.
A nurse working in Portlaoise, Wilma Walsh, yesterday told the inquiry of an incident that took place on September 17, 2012, in the operating theatre. During surgery, she said, Dr Hassan stepped on a diathermy pedal when it was not in use, causing a small burn injury to the patient’s abdomen.
The patient who received the burn also spoke to the inquiry via telephone. She said she only learned of the incident after her sister came to visit her and read her medical notes. Dr Hassan yesterday apologised to the patient.
Eadaoin Cooke, who works in the medical manpower office, or HR department, in Portlaoise said a number of colleagues raised concerns regarding Dr Hassan shortly after he took up his post in Portlaoise.
Dr Hassan worked in Portlaoise from July 2012 until 1 January 2013, and at Mayo General Hospital in December 2013. He then worked as an orthopaedic SHO at University Hospital Galway in January and February 2014.
Among other claims, it is alleged that during his time at all three hospitals, he failed to provide adequate or appropriate medical care to certain patients.
Dr Hassan, with an address in Dublin 15, told the inquiry on Monday: “I think I have been treated unfairly … for reasons I’m not totally aware of.”
He argued the three posts under question were his first positions in Ireland and, since then, no issues have arisen. He is facing allegations of professional misconduct and poor professional performance, with a number of factual allegations relating to those.
A total of 30 witnesses are expected to give evidence.