Medical Council defends censure of surgeon

The president of the High Court the Hon Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns, who  has reserved judgment. Photograph: Alan Betson

The president of the High Court the Hon Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns, who has reserved judgment. Photograph: Alan Betson

Sat, Jun 22, 2013, 01:00

The Medical Council has argued before the High Court that findings of poor professional performance may be found against doctors who fail to meet standards of competence on a single occasion.

Eoin McCullough SC rejected arguments by consultant paediatrician Prof Martin Corbally that such findings may not be made unless the failure is of a certain seriousness or one of a number of failures over time.

The Oireachtas could not have intended, in the 2007 Medical Practitioners Act, that such findings could not apply, for instance, to a doctor who once performed the wrong operation or prescribed the wrong drug, failed to turn up for an operation or gave a misleading instruction, he said.

The council’s Fitness to Practise Committee found poor professional performance against Dr Corbally, Corballis, Donabate, Co Dublin, but working in Bahrain, arising from an incorrect “tongue-tie” operation performed in April 2010 at Our Lady’s Hospital, Crumlin, on a two-year-old girl in his care.

The committee concluded poor performance against Dr Corbally on foot of findings that he had incorrectly described the required procedure in his outpatient notes, failed to communicate adequately to Dr Fahran Tareen, the registrar to whom he delegated the operation, and had failed to apply appropriate standards of clinical judgment.

The three-day case concluded yesterday before the president of the High Court, Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns, who reserved judgment.