Doctor suspended after telling patient he wanted to kiss her

Registrar now living in Saudi Arabia banned from practising in Ireland for six months

An inquiry by the fitness-to-practise committee earlier this year found the doctor guilty of professional misconduct and poor professional performance. File photograph: Thinkstock

An inquiry by the fitness-to-practise committee earlier this year found the doctor guilty of professional misconduct and poor professional performance. File photograph: Thinkstock

 

A doctor has been suspended from the medical register for six months for professional misconduct following a finding he told a patient he wanted to kiss her.

The president of the High Court, Mr Justice Peter Kelly, “entirely agreed” with the Medical Council recommendation to suspend Sid Ahmed Hassan Mohammed Hamd for six months with conditions attached to his registration for two years should he seek to resume practising medicine in Ireland after his suspension has ended.

The judge agreed with the council’s fitness-to-practise committee this was “disgraceful and dishonourable” conduct and that a patient receiving care in emergency medicine is a vulnerable person entitled to expect a doctor-patient relationship based on trust and respect. He also expressed serious concern that Dr Hamd – a registrar in the emergency department of the Midland Regional Hospital, Mullingar at the time of the complaint in March 2017 but now working in Saudi Arabia – appeared to have poor English. This raised concerns about how an unfortunate traumatised patient is to communicate their situation as well as issues about recruitment procedures for medical professionals, he said. He made the comments on Monday when granting an application by JP McDowell, solicitor for the Medical Council, for the orders suspending Dr Hamd, who qualified as a doctor in 2002.

The orders were sought following a complaint by a patient to gardaí over her treatment by Dr Hamd, with an address at Alriyadh, Saudi Arabia, following her admission to the emergency department in Mullingar as a result of a road traffic incident in March 2017. The patient made several allegations against the doctor arising from his examination of her.

Professional misconduct

An inquiry by the committee earlier this year found him guilty of professional misconduct and poor professional performance over making a comment of an inappropriate and/or sexual nature to the patient informing her he wanted to kiss her or words to that effect. Dr Hamd did not attend and was not legally represented at the fitness-to-practise inquiry but tried to contact it on its third hearing day last February by phone after it had made its findings but before it made a final decision concerning sanction.

The committee found his phone submissions inaudible and agreed to consider written submissions which he sent by email. The committee accepted Dr Hamd’s statement in his email that he suffered emotional distress and physical symptoms when recollecting the event in question but it also found he did not appear to accept the committee’s findings and had not demonstrated insight into his conduct. It ultimately recommended his registration here be suspended for six months with conditions to apply after that for a two-year period. Those include a requirement, except in life-threatening emergencies, he must not examine women patients without a chaperone – a registered doctor or nurse or individual chosen by the patient – and must undertake a course in communication skills. In exchanges with the judge, Mr McDowell said he understood Dr Hamd would have had to pass an English language competency test and undergo interview before being registered here.

Mr McDowell said he would make further inquiries about that and inform the court of the outcome of those. Mr Justice Kelly said it did not appear to instil much confidence for patients when a registrar, who is one step short of a consultant, appears unable to speak English. While the patient’s complaints against the doctor did not concern his language skills, the court could not but note the poor standard of English of this doctor.

It seemed “rather astonishing” the doctor was presumably able to pass a language competency test and interview and the Medical Council should be alerted to the court’s concerns in that regard.