Ambulance delayed as doctor looked for her scarf, inquiry told


THE FAMILY of a woman who had just had a heart attack said a doctor delayed an ambulance carrying their mother because the doctor was looking for her scarf, a Medical Council hearing was told.

Dr Maria Gordos, who is accused of professional misconduct and poor professional performance, attended at the home of a 61-year-old woman living with her husband in the south Carlow region on December 11th, 2010.

The fitness-to-practise inquiry heard the patient, known only as patient C on direction of the committee, had become unwell at her home, suffered a heart attack and was pronounced dead on arrival at St Luke’s Hospital in Kilkenny later that evening.

Dr Gordos, originally from Hungary, was the on-call doctor for out-of-hours GP service Caredoc. She attended patient C’s home at 5.15pm. The patient’s husband and a number of her adult children were also at the house.

The hearing heard Dr Gordos examined patient C who initially had a burning sensation in her chest. Questions were raised about the exact times of events over the following 50 minutes.

Setting out the case for the chief executive of the council, solicitor JP McDowell said oral medication was given to Ms C and she then fell to one side in her bed, losing consciousness.

One of the daughters administered cardiopulmonary resuscitation and Dr Gordos joined her in this. The doctor asked the Caredoc driver, Martin Byrne, to call an emergency ambulance at about 5.24pm and asked for a defibrillator be brought from the car.

Four of Ms C’s adult children gave evidence that Dr Gordos had to be asked by daughter S to give CPR to the patient, and when the defibrillator was brought from the car by one of the sons the doctor asked for Mr Byrne to come and set it up.

Dr Gordos is accused of having refused or failed to use the defibrillator when she knew or ought to have known it was appropriate to; of having delayed the departure of the ambulance, and, of having failed to provide adequate assistance or support to the family. The emergency ambulance is recorded as having arrived at 6.01pm.

“The ambulance men arrived and they set up their defibrillator,” said daughter S. “They gave her seven shocks on the bedroom floor . . . Three or four times they [paramedics] asked Dr Gordos to go down to the ambulance to set up for the journey and she didn’t leave.”

Asked why Dr Gordos didn’t leave, daughter S said: “She couldn’t find her scarf. She said she couldn’t leave without her scarf because it was so cold outside. She was the last one to leave the room.” Patient C’s two sons and second daughter also spoke of Dr Gordos’s concern to find her scarf before leaving.

Paramedic Wesley Hayes, said he did not recall her delaying their departure. The hearing continues on April 16th.