Surgeon would have ordered mammogram for patient in 2007 if he had the resources
“Perfectionist” breast surgeon trained to carry out ultrasound examinations
Surgeon is accused of failing to consider adequately or at all his patient’s condition, failing to carry out an adequate examination, failing to refer her for specialist review and failing to arrange adequate follow up
A breast cancer surgeon facing six allegations of professional misconduct told a Medical Council fitness-to-practise inquiry if he’d had the resources he had today he would have referred a 40-year-old woman, who subsequently died of breast cancer, for a mammogram the first time he saw her.
Dr C, who cannot be named on direction of the inquiry committee, said he was frustrated by the shortage of resources available in 2007. Resources had improved dramatically since then with the introduction of the National Cancer Control Programme.
“In hindsight, if I saw that patient today with the resources I have I would have sent her for a mammogram,” he said.
The surgeon is accused of failing to consider his patient’s condition, failing to carry out an adequate examination, failing to refer her for specialist review and failing to arrange adequate follow up. He also allegedly carried out an ultrasound without being qualified.
Ms K, a mother of one, was referred to Dr C by her GP in August 2007, complaining of lumps in her left breast. He carried out a physical examination at the first appointment and carried out an ultrasound himself, but did not refer her for a mammogram. She was not diagnosed with cancer until June 2008. She died of the condition in September 2012.
Giving evidence yesterday, Dr C said when he gave Ms K an ultrasound he had taken part in a two-day course and had carried out 50 ultrasounds, half the number required to be awarded a qualification. He saw “no mass” in the area Ms K complained of.
Rory Mulcahy, for the Medical Council, said the mammogram in June 2008 showed “calcification”, a sign of cancer, in the area Dr C had examined with ultrasound.
“That is open to interpretation,” Dr C said.
The case continues.