GP 'put child's life on line' over €40
A woman has told a Medical Council fitness to practise committee hearing a doctor refused to see her daughter because she didn't have the money to pay him.
A mother of toddler who had a lump "the size of a golf ball" on her neck told a Medical Council fitness to practise committee this morning her GP turned her child away and put her life on the line "for the sake of €40".
The young mother claimed when she brought her one and a half year-old daughter to Coolock Health Centre in north Dublin her GP, Dr Jerry Nasstrom, refused to see her because the family's medical card was out of date and she did not have €40 to pay him. She then took the child to Temple Street children's hospital where she underwent surgery.
Dr Nasstrom, originally from Sweden, is facing four allegations of professional misconduct and or poor professional performance including that he refused to treat the child, refused to answer the child's mother when she asked if she should go to hospital and told the parents the child was not his problem.
The GP has denied the allegations.
The mother, who was not named, told Ciaran Mandal BL, for the Medical Council, her daughter woke up in the afternoon of January 24th, 2012 and had a temperature and a lump on her neck. She contacted the child's father and they walked in heavy rain to the Coolock centre.
She said she asked to see Dr Nasstrom and the receptionist told her to knock on the doctor's door. The doctor opened the door and she was crying and her voice was shaking, she said. She asked if he would see her daughter and he asked if she had a medical card and was registered with him, then he went back into his office to check the system. When he came out he said her medical card was expired and the fee would be €40.
She did not have the money and claimed she told the GP she was a lone parent and would drop the money over later in the week. He closed the door on her, she claimed. She knocked again and asked if he would at least tell her if she needed to bring her daughter to hospital, and he said "unless you have €40 I can't comment". In total, she said he closed the door on her three times.
"He turned my child away that day and put her life on the line for the sake of €40," she said.
She said the family then walked to her mother's house who phoned the mother of the child's father who "had a car" and took them to Temple Street.
Cathal Murphy BL, for the doctor, told the committee his client had no idea the child was so sick, did not recall the encounter as being emotional and thought the woman had gone out to her car to get the €40. He would never refuse to treat a sick child, Mr Murphy said.
Under cross examination, the mother agreed with Mr Murphy that there were discrepancies between her initial letter of complaint to the Medical Council and her subsequent statement including the time of day the child woke up. But, she said, the doctor had also made mistakes in his letter of response to the Medical Council. He had claimed she told him she would go to her car to get the €40 but she did not have a car and had never driven.
The case continues.