Doctor accused over baby’s death failed to act in time, council hears

Dr A faces seven allegations of professional misconduct over Mark Molloy’s death

There were  issues over the actions of midwives in relation to the death of Mark Molloy, the Medical Council heard.  Photograph: David Sleator

There were issues over the actions of midwives in relation to the death of Mark Molloy, the Medical Council heard. Photograph: David Sleator

 

A doctor facing allegations of wrongdoing over the death of baby Mark Molloy was not “solely responsible” but did not act when he should have, an inquiry has been told.

Dr Elizabeth Sarah Cooper, an expert in obstetrics, said the actions of the doctor in charge of mother Roisin Molloy’s labour at Midland Regional Hospital, Portlaoise, contributed to the baby’s asphyxia, which caused his death shortly after birth.

But there were also issues over the actions of midwives in relation to the death on January 24th, 2012, she added.

Dr Cooper, a lead consultant for internal fetal medicine at Royal Infirmary Edinburgh, was giving evidence as an expert witness in the Medical Council fitness-to-practise inquiry against Dr A, who faces seven allegations of professional misconduct.

“I do not feel he was solely responsible,” she said. “I think there were issues about the midwifery care of this patient as well. But I think he did have the opportunity to act, but didn’t.”

Dr Cooper said a cardiotocograph (CTG) monitor print-out from the labour shows the baby’s heart-rate was “pathological” from before 7am on the morning of the delivery.

Dr A, who denied the majority of the allegations against him, signed the print-out at 7.55am.

The signature shows that he looked at the CTG but he should have acted within 10 minutes, Dr Cooper told the inquiry.

The hearings have already been told that Dr A was advised by a midwife between 8am and 8.15am to call in a consultant. The evidence suggests he did not do so until 8.30am.

“He should have paid attention to what they advised,” Dr Cooper said. “It is a long time. My belief is the baby suffered chronic partial asphyxia, probably for three hours.

“The last hour or half hour makes a difference in terms of the damage done.

“Minutes do make a difference in these situations.”

Among the allegations against Dr A is that he failed to review the CTG adequately and failed to correctly interpret it as being abnormal.

It is also alleged he retrospectively amended a CTG note from satisfactory to unsatisfactory and added the word non-reassuring, contrary to rules on writing up medical notes.

Roisin and Mark Molloy were told their child was stillborn but later found out that he had been born alive and died about 22 minutes after unsuccessful attempts to resuscitate him.

Official records obtained by the Molloys showed their baby’s death was recorded as stillborn.

The coroner was also notified it had been a stillbirth, but an inquest ultimately recorded death due to medical misadventure and a neonatal death.