Medical Council clears surgeon of misconduct claims

Sat, Oct 27, 2012, 01:00

THE MEDICAL Council fitness-to-practise committee has cleared a consultant surgeon of 11 allegations of professional misconduct and poor professional performance.

Syed Naqvi, who was a consultant surgeon at the Mid-Western Regional Hospital, Ennis, faced allegations in relation to his care of Martina Sherlock, a mother of 13, who died on December 10th, 2008.

Ms Sherlock (39), from Ennis, first attended the emergency department at Ennis hospital in June 2008 with abdominal pain, but was not diagnosed with appendicitis until November that year. She then underwent three operations in three weeks. After the third, her condition deteriorated and she was transferred to the Mid-Western Regional Hospital, Limerick, where she died from organ failure caused by sepsis.

Allegations against Mr Naqvi were that he carried out an inappropriate operation, failed to arrange for CT scans when required, and failed to transfer Ms Sherlock to the Mid-Western Regional Hospital in Limerick within an adequate time period.

In previous evidence, an expert witness for the Medical Council, a consultant surgeon at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London, said the third operation carried out by Dr Naqvi was “a dangerous procedure” in the circumstances and would reduce Ms Sherlock’s chances of survival.

The witness said he believed Ms Sherlock should have been transferred to Limerick before the surgery. A decision not to transfer her directly after the third surgery “was inherently dangerous as it allowed the situation to develop” to a more serious state.

An expert witness for Mr Naqvi, a consultant surgeon at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, Scotland, had told the committee there was “no doubt” postoperative facilities at Ennis were not what would be expected in 2008 when the surgery took place.

Yesterday, Eileen Barrington, senior counsel for Mr Naqvi, said it was not his fault the hospital did not have a CT scanner. She said doctors there had sought one for years.

Clearing him of all 11 allegations, the committee found Mr Naqvi had exercised clinical judgment within the standard expected and said Ennis General did not have an intensive care unit with full resuscitation facilities.