Dublin gynaecologist faces professional misconduct allegations

Medical Council hears accusations by two women against Dr Patrick Gerard Rafferty

Ms Howe developed sudden sharp pains and nausea and was rushed to Mount Carmel by her husband.

Ms Howe developed sudden sharp pains and nausea and was rushed to Mount Carmel by her husband.


A Dublin gynaecologist and obstetrician faced 10 allegations of professional misconduct at a Medical Council fitness-to-practise inquiry yesterday after he allegedly failed to diagnose an ectopic pregnancy in a patient who later suffered a rupture.

Dr Patrick Gerard Rafferty, consultant gynaecologist and obstetrician at Mount Carmel Hospital and Landscape Clinic, both private facilities in Churchtown, also faced allegations in relation to his treatment of a woman who lost the function of one of her kidneys after he performed a hysterectomy on her.

Solicitor JP McDowell, for the Medical Council, told the inquiry Michelle Howe, a 35-yearold mother of one, attended the Landscape Clinic on June 4th 2008 with bleeding and pain.

She had an ultrasound examination and the sonographer suspected early failed pregnancy or ectopic pregnancy, a pregnancy occurring outside the uterus. Dr Rafferty recommended a blood test be carried out on the day and two days later to diagnose her condition.

Mr McDowell said Ms Howe would tell the inquiry she had the blood test and returned to the clinic on June 6th for the second blood test. She had been experiencing further bleeding, period pain and flu-like symptoms.

She was seen by a different consultant and her bloods were taken. She expected to get a call from Dr Rafferty that evening with results, Mr McDowell said. When she did not, she contacted the hospital and they got in touch with him. He then called her and said the blood tests showed increasing levels of beta hCG, a hormone, and said he believed she had a non-continuing pregnancy. He made an appointment for her to come in on Monday for treatment.

However on Saturday Ms Howe developed sudden sharp pains and nausea and was rushed to Mount Carmel by her husband. A laparoscopy was performed followed by a salpiagectomy, to remove the fallopian tube where the ectopic pregnancy had been. The ectopic pregnancy had ruptured, there were large amount of blood found in Ms Howe’s abdomen and she required a transfusion. Medical notes showed she was “very upset” that she hadn’t been admitted the previous Friday, Mr McDowell told the inquiry, and a complaint was made to the Medical Council.

Six allegations have been brought in connection with the case, all of which he has denied. In correspondence he told the council he advised Ms Howe to come into hospital over the weekend but she wanted to remain at home until Monday.

Four allegations have been brought in relation to a separate case involving Cathy Coyle from Terenure. These include that in 2007 he carried out a hysterectomy on the then 56 year old, when he should have treated her more conservatively, he also failed to have a surgeon assisting him and failed to refer her for a urological opinion after test results showed there were problems with her left kidney. The case continues.