‘How can doctor with sub-standard medical knowledge get work?’

The president of the High Court has expressed concern at how a doctor with “such sub-standard medical knowledge” — including mistaking an ankle for an elbow in an X-ray — could have been employed in three different hospitals.

‘How can doctor with sub-standard medical knowledge get work?’

Mr Justice Peter Kelly made the remark when he yesterday rejected an appeal by Omar Hassan Khalafalla Mohamed, 30, against his striking off the medical register for professional misconduct and poor professional performance.

The judge said he could not understand how Dr Hassan got on the medical register in the first place, apart from the fact that he obtained appointments in three different hospitals.

The judge acknowledged the Irish Medical Council (IMC), which had recommended the erasure of Dr Hassan’s name from the register, had also expressed similar concern.

The IMC made the recommendation after a fitness to practice committee found him guilty on multiple grounds related to his conduct and performance earlier this year.

After the judge confirmed his striking off, Dr Hassan, who qualified in Sudan, said “for me it is meaningless”.

When the judge ordered he pay the costs of the legal action, Dr Hassan said he did “not believe in the integrity of the procedure”.

He also said he did not believe it was a fair decision.

In his appeal, Dr Hassan argued that, among other things, he should not be struck off because the evidence against him did not meet the required standard.

He also said the complaints against him should not have been referred to the fitness to practice committee because they were not of a serious and grave nature.

Mr Justice Kelly said the committee made its findings after hearing from 30 witnesses over 11 days. It had met the criminal standard of proof — beyond a reasonable doubt — in making its findings, he said.

It would be difficult to consider the complaints against Dr Hassan were anything other than grave , he said.

Among those incidents, which happened in the Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise, Mayo General, and Galway University Hospital between 2012 to 2014, was that, while performing a gall bladder-related procedure, Dr Hassan stood on the pedal of an electrosurgical machine, which was not in use, and caused a burn injury to a patient.

On another, he attempted to insert a needle into a patient’s arm on a number of occasions, causing her pain, even though the procedure was not necessary.

Around February 17, 2014, during a trauma meeting/teaching session in Galway, he misidentified an x-ray image of an ankle as being one of an elbow.

He was also found by colleagues to act in a bizarre way and to be aggressive and confrontational both to colleagues and patients.

The court previously heard Dr Hassan had complained about his treatment at the public inquiry and threatened in correspondence it “will be fully paid for at an extremely bloody price for the people involved worldwide”.

He also wrote that there would be “a grave response from me... to these events outside court and not necessarily in Ireland”.

Mr Justice Kelly, on that occasion, said he was glad to know the IMC had informed gardaí of the threats.

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