Doctor who altered notes has ‘learned lesson’

Evidence concludes in Medical Council hearing over death of baby Mark Molloy

A fitness to practise hearing at the Medical Council arising from the death of baby Mark Molloy in Portlaoise hospital has finished after 10 days of evidence.

A fitness to practise hearing at the Medical Council arising from the death of baby Mark Molloy in Portlaoise hospital has finished after 10 days of evidence.

 

A doctor accused of wrongdoing over the death of a baby in Midland Regional Hospital, Portlaoise, has worked in almost every other maternity hospital around the country since, he told an inquiry.

The obstetrics registrar, who was in charge of Róisín Molloy’s labour at the hospital on January 24th, 2012, is facing seven allegations of professional misconduct at a Medical Council fitness to practise hearing.

She 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.

On the tenth and final day of evidence at the inquiry, the doctor, who has been anonymised and is referred to only as Dr A, produced a number of character references from senior doctors at other hospitals he has worked at since then.

They proved he was “honest and reliable”, he told the three-panel Medical Council committee, who will make a ruling next month.

“I know it was a terrible incident and it is unfortunate it happened,” he said about the tragic death of baby Mark Molloy.

“After that I worked virtually in most other maternity hospitals without any cause for alarm, as evidenced in these references.”

Dr A has denied most of the allegations against him, including that he failed to adequately review the cardiotocograph (CTG), which monitors the baby’s and mother’s heart-rate, and failed to correctly interpret it as being abnormal.

He further denied 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.

‘Innocent error’

But he admits he retrospectively amended his notes on a print-out of the baby’s heart-rate from “satisfactory” to “unsatisfactory” and added the word “non-reassuring”, without identifying the changes, contrary to rules on writing up medical records.

Dr A said he made the changes, without clearly indicating he had done so, because he wanted “to right an innocent error” on his part.

“I admit I carried that out and I regret that,” he told the inquiry.

“But is it enough to say I’m disgraceful and dishonourable? I regret that I did that, not in the right way, but I’m not disgraceful or dishonourable.”

Dr A said he and his family have been through six years of psychological trauma since the tragedy, adding: “I just want to get back properly on my feet… I did my best, I have learned my lesson, and I carry that around every day.”

Professor Fidelma Dunne, chairwoman of the fitness to practise committee,said they would meet again to start deliberations on April 24th, when it is expected they will also make a ruling.