Kildare GP accused of 'confrontational and unprofessional' behaviour
A Co Kildare GP has been accused of failing to respond to a call-out promptly, and of treating patients and colleagues in an aggressive, confrontational or unprofessional manner.
The allegations against Dr Aoife Kavanagh – who worked for the out-of-hours medical service K Doc – were outlined at a Medical Council fitness-to-practise committee inquiry which began yesterday.
The committee is to continue hearing a range of allegations against Dr Kavanagh after five allegations were withdrawn yesterday.
At the start of what is expected to be a five-day hearing yesterday, counsel for the Medical Council Patrick Leonard said a worker in Oghill nursing home in Monasterevin had become upset with Dr Kavanagh’s response to a call for help, in a case in which a 90-year-old man died in 2005.
Mr Leonard said it was the worker’s evidence that she had called K Doc in the early hours of the morning in May 2005 and sought assistance for the elderly man whose breathing had become difficult. She had spoken to Dr Kavanagh on the phone but felt the need to call again afterwards when the patient’s blood pressure dropped.
Mr Leonard said it was the worker’s evidence that Dr Kavanagh had questioned the medical qualifications, if any, of the caller. Dr Kavanagh allegedly warned that if she had to come out to the nursing home, and discovered the patient’s condition to be normal, she would report the worker.
Dr Kavanagh attended the patient, who died shortly afterwards at about 2.35am.
Mr Leonard said the worker had became “distressed and upset” with Dr Kavanagh and believed she was owed an apology.
Dr Dermot Shearer, medical director of K Doc, told the inquiry he had written to Dr Kavanagh in 2006 mentioning another case, this time that of a woman patient who had died shortly after contacting K Doc and whose family was unhappy with Dr Kavanagh.
Dr Shearer said he was unhappy with the amount of time it took Dr Kavanagh to respond. Dr Kavanagh had replied to a number of concerns and said she was taking legal advice, he said. Referring to other allegations, Mr Leonard said Dr Kavanagh was accused of being publicly aggressive and unprofessional with a staff member in Newbridge Treatment Centre.
It is also alleged Dr Kavanagh adopted a “confrontational and unprofessional” manner with the mother of a patient in December 2009 and failed to respond to a letter in a timely manner from the medical director of K Doc.
However, Charles Meenan SC, for Dr Kavanagh, said the council’s expert witness had reviewed a number of the allegations and found that while the issues about responding to letters may have been tardy, they did not amount to professional misconduct. He said the issues amounted only to a human resources difficulty.