GP who mixed children’s vaccines faces misconduct allegations
Over 300 patients of Co Dublin doctor needed to be revaccinated
A Co Dublin GP who mixed child vaccines together is facing allegations of professional misconduct at a Medical Council fitness-to-practise inquiry . Photograph: David Sleator/The Irish Times
A Co Dublin GP who mixed child vaccines together to administer them resulting in 335 children needing to be revaccinated is facing allegations of professional misconduct and poor professional performance at a Medical Council fitness-to-practise inquiry this morning.
Dr Derek Graham, of Newcastle, Co Dublin, allegedly failed to follow the correct practice by not administering the vaccines separately, failed to make accurate returns to the Health Service Executive, failed to store the vaccines appropriately and failed to maintain adequate records. His contract with the HSE to immunise children was suspended.
Opening the case, Patrick Leonard BL, for the Medical Council said the period of the allegations covered 2008 to 2011, but it was believed for many years before that, Dr Graham had been failing to follow proper procedures.
He not only mixed the vaccines when they should not have been mixed, he also administered them in the wrong site, Mr Leonard said.
His records were either inaccurate or misleading and when the HSE investigated in 2011, they could not rely on them, Mr Leonard said. As a result, it was necessary for the HSE to engage in a revaccination programme for 335 children.
The matter came to light when the parent of a child raised a query with a public health nurse about whether the practise of administering a mix of vaccines was correct. The HSE subsequently made a complaint to the Medical Council, as did one of the parents involved.
Cathal Murphy BL, for Dr Graham, said his client admitted to mixing the vaccines, and said he administered them in one dose because “it was how it was shown by his mentor”. He was also motivated to minimise the suffering and pain experienced by the young children who would have had to receive a series of injections.
He said Dr Graham believed his actions amounted to poor professional performance and not professional misconduct. He denied the vaccines were incorrectly stored, but admitted he failed to maintain adequate records for the children vaccinated.
“He very much regrets any distress that may have been occasioned by family members,” Mr Murphy said.
He also said so parents continued to be happy with the care offered by Dr Graham and instead of agreeing to have their children revaccinated by the HSE, instead had them tested for immunity.
“Their children were fully inoculated against the relevant diseases,” he said.
The case continues.