A doctor who killed a mother-of-three after botching a procedure during a routine hospital appointment to take samples has been jailed for three years.
Dr Isyaka Mamman, 85, had already been suspended for lying about his age and colleagues thought he should be retired after botching similar procedures before the fatal incident.
The Nigerian-born medic, aged 81 at the time, carried out the “highly dangerous” procedure using the wrong needle and inserted it in the wrong place, piercing the heart sac of Shahida Parveen, who had gone to the Royal Oldham Hospital to give a bone marrow sample.
The 48-year-old and her husband had asked Mamman to abort the treatment but he persisted, and she died later the same day, September 3 2018.
Mamman gave no reaction as he was jailed after admitting gross negligence manslaughter, but his family wept in the public gallery at Manchester Crown Court.
Sadly there were failings in the system. It is very sad to see a long career in medicine end in such dreadful circumstancesMrs Justice Yip, Manchester Crown Court
Passing sentence, Mrs Justice Yip criticised both the defendant and the hospital trust that employed him, saying there is a “troubling background” to the case with the doctor’s age and two prior critical incidents in 2015.
She said: “It is hard to understand why these incidents did not lead to your retirement.
“Equally it is difficult to see why the trust did not do more and why you were allowed to continue to work.
“Sadly there were failings in the system.
“It is very sad to see a long career in medicine end in such dreadful circumstances.”
Earlier the court heard that Ms Parveen had gone to the hospital with her husband, Khizar Mahmood, for investigations into possible myeloproliferative disorder.
A bone marrow biopsy had been advised and the routine procedure was allocated to Mamman, working as a specialty doctor in haematology, Andrew Thomas QC, prosecuting, told the hearing.
Normally, bone marrow samples are taken from the hip bone but Mamman failed to obtain a sample at the first attempt.
Instead he attempted a rare and “highly dangerous” procedure of getting a sample from the patient’s sternum – despite her and her husband’s objections.
Mamman, using the wrong biopsy needle, missed the bone and pierced her pericardium, the sac containing the heart, causing massive internal bleeding.
Ms Parveen lost consciousness as soon as the needle was inserted, with her husband running from the room shouting: “He killed her.
“I told him to stop three times and he did not listen. He killed her.”
Mamman qualified as a doctor in Nigeria in 1965 and had worked in the UK since 1991. From 2004 until the time of the fatal incident he was employed by the Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust.
But his “true age” is a matter of “controversy”, the court heard, as his birthplace in rural Nigeria had no system of birth registration.
During his medical training he gave a date of birth of September 16 1936, which meant that he was 21 when he began his medical training and 81 at the time of the fatal hospital incident.
But he knocked years off his age by adopting a birth date in 1941, provided to the NHS, suggesting he began his medical degree at the age of 16.
However, in about 2001 and approaching what was then the compulsory retirement age of 65, Mamman adopted an even later birth date – October 1947 – which he relied upon in an application for naturalisation as a British citizen – suggesting he started his degree course at the age of 10.
In 2004 he was found guilty of serious professional misconduct by the General Medical Council (GMC) and suspended for 12 months for lying about his age.
The Pennine Trust sacked him but then re-employed him in 2006, after he had been restored to the register by the GMC, who accepted his date of birth to be 1943 – which meant he was 14 or 15 when he began his medical degree.
It is tragic that someone who attended the hospital for a diagnostic procedure to plan their treatment and, ultimately, make them feel better ended up dying at the hands of a doctor.Detective Inspector Rachel Smith, Greater Manchester Police
He had left his previous employment with the Medway Trust because of “poor performance”, and in 2015 a formal complaint was made to the Oldham hospital when a patient complained that he had used “excessive force” during a bone marrow biopsy.
The patient was told that Mamman was in his 70s and his colleagues thought he should retire but they could not dismiss him purely because of his age.
She was assured he would be put on light duties in future.
However, the same year there was another clinical incident which resulted in serious injury to another patient, again during a bone marrow biopsy and again involving a needle being inserted in the wrong place.
The patient survived but has been left permanently disabled.
Outside court, Detective Inspector Rachel Smith, of Greater Manchester Police’s Major Incident Team, said: “It is tragic that someone who attended the hospital for a diagnostic procedure to plan their treatment and, ultimately, make them feel better ended up dying at the hands of a doctor.
“Our thoughts remain with the victim’s family and loved ones.”
Dr Chris Brookes, deputy chief executive for the Northern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust, which now runs the Oldham Royal Hospital, said: “We wish again to offer our sincerest condolences to Mrs Parveen’s family and friends and we are deeply sorry for their loss.
“We would like to reiterate our sincere apology previously provided to Mrs Parveen’s family. Our heartfelt sympathies go out to them.
“The Trust has admitted liability in relation to a civil claim brought by the family.”