Doctor who altered medical notes in Portlaoise guilty of misconduct

Physician cleared of other charges in case of baby Molloy who died in 2012

Roisin and Mark Molloy who were told their  baby boy was stillborn but later found out he had been born alive and died about 22 minutes after unsuccessful attempts to resuscitate him. Photograph: James Flynn/APX

Roisin and Mark Molloy who were told their baby boy was stillborn but later found out he had been born alive and died about 22 minutes after unsuccessful attempts to resuscitate him. Photograph: James Flynn/APX

 

A doctor accused of wrongdoing over the death of a baby in Midland Regional Hospital, Portlaoise, has been cleared of five of seven allegations against him at a fitness-to-practise inquiry.

But the obstetrics registrar, who was in charge of Roisin Molloy’s labour at the hospital on January 24th, 2012, was found guilty on two counts of professional misconduct over his amending his medical notes retrospectively.

Dr A had admitted during the 13-day hearings that he altered a note on the baby’s heart-rate from satisfactory to unsatisfactory and added the word non-reassuring, contrary to rules on medical notes.

A Medical Council fitness-to-practise committee found allegations that he failed adequately to review the cardiotocograph (CTG), which monitors the baby’s and mother’s heart-rate, and failed to correctly interpret it as being abnormal as “not proven”.

Furthermore, allegations that he failed to act in a timely manner during complications in the labour and that he inappropriately administered Syntocinon, a drug used to induce childbirth or strengthen contractions during labour, were also found to be not proven.

Unsuccessful attempts

Mrs Molloy was told her baby boy was stillborn but later found out he had been born alive and died about 22 minutes after unsuccessful attempts to resuscitate him.

In its ruling, the Medical Council committee said the labour was “not apparently regarded as overly problematic” by other health care professionals who were also tending to Mrs Molloy.

Nor did any of the experienced midwives in attendance raise any concerns or objections to Dr A’s prescribing of Syntocinon, and recorded his actions in their own medical notes “without objection”, the committee found.

However, it was proven “beyond reasonable doubt” that Dr A had subsequently amended his notes on the labour – amounting to professional misconduct – in what the committee described as a “serious falling short of the expected standards of conduct for a doctor”.

Any sanctions against Dr A will be decided by the Medical Council itself, which next meets on May 18th.