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Medic concealed true temperature of Ebola-hit nurse

By Pat Hurst

A doctor has admitted misleading other medics after a warning sign of a raised temperature for nurse Pauline Cafferkey was concealed hours before she fell seriously ill with the Ebola virus.

Dr Hannah Ryan took the temperature of the Scottish nurse as they waited to go through Ebola virus screening at Heathrow Airport, medical watchdogs heard. They had been working in Kerry Town in Sierra Leone with other "selfless" UK medics who had volunteered to help treat victims of the virus that killed thousands in West Africa in 2014, a Medical Practitioners Tribunal was told.

But after flying home "keen" to be back for Christmas, Dr Ryan took Ms Cafferkey's temperature which was 38.2C - above the 37.5C threshold which is a warning sign for Ebola.

The two medics and another nurse with them, Donna Wood, discussed the reading, "during which someone said 'Let's get out of here'," Fraser Coxhill, representing the General Medical Council, said.

Dr Ryan was in a state of "disbelief, fear and panic" at the raised reading, and instead of alerting Public Health England (PHE) medics at Heathrow screening groups returning from West Africa, a lower temperature was recorded of 37.2, the form was passed to PHE staff and the medics went on their way.

Ms Cafferkey fell seriously ill the next day and tested positive for the Ebola virus.

Dr Ryan has admitted she misled others and "acquiesced" in the wrong temperature being given, but denies misconduct by her actions at the airport and during a subsequent investigation by PHE.

The tribunal continues today.

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