Nigerian Female Doctor Wins Appeal To Keep Her Job After Being Blacklisted In UK

A doctor whose mistakes led to the death of a six-year-old boy has won her Court of Appeal challenge over the decision to strike her off. In 2015, Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba, was found guilty of gross negligence manslaughter and given a two year suspended prison sentence over the death of Jack Adcock.

The little boy had Down’s syndrome and a heart condition, and she had marked him as ‘do not resuscitate’ after confusing him for another patient.

Jack, from Glen Parva, Leicestershire died at Leicester Royal Infirmary in 2011 after he developed sepsis. At her trial at Nottingham Crown Court, the sentencing judge said that neither Dr Bawa-Garba nor a nurse who was on duty at the time ‘gave Jack the priority which this very sick boy deserved’.

Dr Bawa-Garba was the senior junior doctor on the ward at the time, although The Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPT) found that failures including a lack of senior consultant cover, IT problems and staff shortages leaving her covering two wards, had contributed to Jack’s death.

She had been suspended from the medical register for a year in June 2017, but the General Medical Council (GMC) appealed against the decision and claimed it was ‘not sufficient to protect the public’ and she was struck off completely in January 2018.

Today, Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett, the Master of the Rolls Sir Terence Etherton and Lady Justice Rafferty allowed Dr Bawa-Garba’s appeal against that decision and said her name should be restored to the medical register forthwith and remitted the matter to the MPT for review of the suspension, which will remain in place in the meantime.

Master of the Rolls Sir Terence Etherton said: ‘The tribunal was an expert body entitled to reach all those conclusions. ‘The tribunal was entitled to take into account that an important factor weighing in favour of Dr Bawa-Garba is that she is a competent and useful doctor, who presents no material danger to the public and can provide considerable useful future service to society.

‘For those reasons we allow this appeal, set aside the decision of the Divisional Court, restore the decision of the Tribunal and remit the matter to the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service for review of Dr Bawa-Garba’s suspension.’

‘I’m very pleased with the outcome but I want to pay tribute and remember Jack Adcock, a wonderful little boy that started the story,’ she told BBC’s Panorama. ‘I want to let the parents know that I’m sorry for my role in what has happened to Jack.

‘I also want to acknowledge and give gratitude to people around the world from the public to the medical community who have supported me. I’m very overwhelmed by the generosity and I’m really grateful for that.’ In a statement the GMC, who originally challenged her suspension, said: ‘We fully accept the Court of Appeal’s judgement. ‘This was a case of the tragic death of a child, and the consequent criminal conviction of a doctor.

‘It was important to clarify the different roles of criminal courts and disciplinary tribunals in cases of gross negligence manslaughter, and we will carefully examine the court’s decision to see what lessons can be learnt ‘Although gross negligence manslaughter cases in medicine are extremely rare, this case has exposed a raft of concerns, particularly around the role of criminal law in medicine, which why we have commissioned an independent review to look at how it is applied in situations where the risk of death is a constant, and in the context of systemic pressure.

‘It has also been a lightning rod for the profession, highlighting issues that have gone unaddressed far too long. While the GMC is not responsible for decisions to prosecute gross negligence manslaughter cases, we have reflected on what we can do to address the concerns we have heard about this case. ‘Doctors have rightly challenged us to speak out more forcefully to support those practicing in pressured environments and that is what we are increasing our efforts to do.’

Source: Metro UK
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