Radiologist among three doctors suspended by High Court
Medical Council expressed serious concerns over mental health of Dr Clare Hartigan
Dr Clare Hartigan, with an address at Ballinwear, Nenagh, Co Tipperary, had worked at the Kerry hospital between March 2016 and October 2017. Photograph: iStock
A temporary consultant radiologist whose work at University Hospital Kerry was the subject of a review after complaints were made is among three medical practitioners suspended from practising medicine.
The president of the High Court Mr Justice Peter Kelly said he was satisfied it was necessary, on public interest grounds, to grant the Medical Council’s ex parte application for the order against Dr Clare Hartigan, with an address at Ballinwear, Nenagh, Co Tipperary, who had worked at the hospital between March 2016 and October 2017.
While such applications are normally dealt with in private, the judge said he was giving his ruling in public for public interest concerns as Dr Hartigan is now working in the private sector in the UK.
The court heard the council had decided last week, following a meeting attended by Dr Hartigan, to make a complaint to the Preliminary Proceedings Committee on grounds of a relevant medical disability under section 56 of the Medical Practitioners Act 2007.
The council had also decided to apply for an order to suspend Dr Hartigan under Section 60 of the Act as to protect the public interest.
The council said Dr Hartigan has a lack of insight into her mental health issues, had failed to engage with the council and refused an assessment by an independent psychiatrist. It was concerned about her health and welfare, that she had impaired judgment and there was a risk to patients if she continues to work without appropriate assessment.
The judge said the evidence satisfied him the council was “rightly concerned” about Dr Hartigan. He noted the manager of the hospital had complained in October 2017, alleging Dr Hartigan had failed to meet the standards of competence that could reasonably be expected of a consultant radiologist.
The complaint alleged there were three known reportable events where the diagnostic error had lead to serious harm to patients and about 30 incidents which potentially could have lead to serious harm.
Dr Hartigan resigned her post effective from October 18th, 2017, without any formal disciplinary process.
The judge also made a suspension order against Karim El Awad Mohamed,with an address at Blackrock, Stillorgan, Co Dublin, alleged to have registered here to practice medicine under a different name and different date of birth from details provided to the UK medical authorities.
He was suspended there in May 2018 for nine months arising from findings of misconduct against him. It was alleged, when filling in the annual form to re-register here in 2017 and 2018, he had not declared there had been conditions attached to his UK registration.
A suspension order was separately made, pending further order, against Dr Patricia Sverani Black, whose registered address is Castletown, Co Laois, due to patient safety concerns arising from her alleged prescription practices.