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G20 pathologist faces sanctions

The pathologist who carried out the first post mortem on Ian Tomlinson, who died at last year's G20 protest, is due to find out whether he is to be struck off the medical register.

A General Medical Council disciplinary panel ruled Dr Freddy Patel acted in a way that amounted to misconduct during three earlier post-mortem examinations and that his fitness to practise is impaired.

Dr Patel has already been suspended from the Home Office register of forensic pathologists amid questions about his post-mortem examination of Mr Tomlinson. The 47-year-old newspaper seller died during London's G20 riots in April last year after being pushed to the ground by a police officer.

Dr Patel concluded that Mr Tomlinson died of natural causes but his competency was called into question after two other pathologists agreed that Mr Tomlinson, who was an alcoholic, died as a result of internal bleeding, probably from his diseased liver, after falling on his elbow.

The shortcomings in Dr Patel's examination of Mr Tomlinson's body were revealed by prosecutors as they announced that no charges would be brought over the death.

The GMC panel has concluded that Dr Patel was "irresponsible" and failed to meet professional standards during his examinations of the bodies of a five-year-old girl in 2002, a four-week-old baby in 2003 and a woman who died in 2005.

Dr Patel, 63, was said by the panel to have behaved irresponsibly, failed to meet standards expected of a Home Office pathologist and acted in a way liable to bring the profession into disrepute when he changed the woman's cause of death in 2005.

He carried out a post-mortem examination on January 5, and decided she had died due to a blood clot in the coronary arteries. A month later, following a second post-mortem by another pathologist, he prepared an addendum to his report, changing the cause of death to a brain haemorrhage in line with the new findings.

The pathologist was also found to be guilty of misconduct in a post-mortem examination on a four-week-old baby in August 2003. His failure to obtain full skeletal X-rays prior to the examination, as recommended by Royal College of Pathologists' guidance, was irresponsible and failed to meet professional standards, the panel decided.

Dr Patel carried out the post-mortem examination at 7.20am, prior to the radiologist's 9am start time. The fitness to practise panel is due to impose sanctions on Dr Patel at a hearing in London.

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