‘Cover up’ claim after trust stays silent on what it did about misdiagnosis doctor
Health officials have refused to say what action they took after a doctor misdiagnosed a patient who later died from a heart attack.
The Southern Trust has come under fire for its refusal to reveal whether it ever referred the doctor in question to the General Medical Council (GMC).
It has also refused to say whether it restricted the doctor's clinical duties after the "preventable" death of Denis Doran, a businessman from Lurgan, Co Armagh.
Marie Ferguson, whose daughter was at the centre of a medical cover-up after she died, said: "I am disgusted to think another family has had to fight to find out the truth about the death of their loved one.
"It's not good enough."
A coroner ruled last week that Mr Doran (57), who was waiting for an appointment at the trust's Rapid Access Chest Clinic, died from a heart attack in November 2016 two months after he was wrongly diagnosed with a hernia by Dr Mohammod Asaduzzeman.
The doctor had earlier told the court he had no knowledge of the Rapid Access Chest Clinic and also admitted he may not have read Mr Doran's notes before interpreting an abnormal ECG as normal.
In his ruling, Patrick McGurgan described Mr Doran's death as preventable and said the outcome would have been different if he was properly diagnosed and given the necessary treatment.
Just moments before he gave his findings to the court the Southern Trust revealed that 13 patients passed away while waiting to be referred to the Rapid Access Chest Clinic in 2016.
As a result Mr McGurgan ordered the Southern Trust to review the 13 deaths.
When asked by this newspaper to explain what investigations were carried out following the death of Mr Doran and whether Dr Asaduzzeman was referred to the GMC, the professional body for doctors that ensures they are fit to practise, the trust refused to answer.
The trust has not yet been in touch with the families of the 13 people at the centre of the new probe.
A spokesman said: "The trust is complying with the coroner's directions following last week's inquest.
"The trust is continuing to review these cases and will be in contact with the families as soon as possible."
Reacting to the revelations, Mrs Ferguson continued: "It's horrific, it just seems like another cover-up."
Her daughter Raychel was one of five children whose deaths in Northern Ireland hospitals were examined by the Hyponatraemia Inquiry.
The inquiry chair, John O'Hara QC, published his report in January 2017, in which he called for the introduction of a duty of candour for medical professionals.
He said this was an essential measure after he was repeatedly confronted by witnesses who "had to have the truth dragged out of them".
"It is time that the medical profession and health service managers stop treating their own reputations and interests first and put the public interest first," he said.
Mrs Ferguson added: "I am angered by this but not surprised.
"This proves once again how important it is that we have a duty of candour in Northern Ireland, but I don't think we'll ever get it.
"The findings of the Hyponatraemia Inquiry seem to have been forgotten about.
"Quite often all families want is the truth and they don't want to have to drag it out of the doctors and nurses, they just want to know at the time what went wrong and to get an apology.
"It seems like lessons haven’t been learned."