Top dentist failed to spot dangerous oral tumour: claim
One of Northern Ireland's top dentists reassured a woman with mouth cancer that her tumour was benign, a hearing has heard.
Professor Philip Lamey (above), a dentist at Belfast's Royal Victoria Hospital, misdiagnosed a cancerous growth in her mouth, mistaking it for a much less serious condition, stated regulators.
The patient had been referred to him with frictional keratosis.
Professor Lamey then failed to arrange a follow-up appointment in time to review her condition, later revealed to be cancer.
The allegations were put to a Practice Committee by the General Dental Council in a hearing held in London yesterday.
Professor Lamey faced a total of 46 charges of clinical negligence relating to 33 patients. Concerns were raised after a number of patients developed cancers that could have been caught earlier.
In total, 135 of his patients at the School of Dentistry at the RVH had to be recalled amid fears any cancers could have been missed.
Thirty-five of his patients were later diagnosed and four died.
A panel from the GDC's Practice Committee heard how the dentist had diagnosed a lesion as frictional keratosis, despite the patient being a smoker.
Prof Lamey faced two charges for his care of the patient, known as Patient 23, for failing to make any follow-up appointments and failing to maintain adequate records. Addressing the panel, counsel for the GDC, Mr David Bradly said: "A follow-up was required. I put it to (witness) Prof Challacombe that you would make arrangements to be reviewed as appropriate.
"The answer was 'I think so yes'. "(There were) no follow-up arrangements made at all with respect to Patient 23."
Mr Bradly summarised Prof Lamey's notes, saying to the court: "It refers to traumatic ulceration, patient reassured of the benign nature of this."
Prof Stephen Challacombe is an expert witness for Prof Lamey.
Mr Bradly criticised evidence given by the witness, suggesting he had read into Prof Lamey's notes "too closely".
In written evidence Prof Challacombe had defended some of Prof Lamey's decisions not to carry out biopsies on patients, although this changed in court.
The case was adjourned.