Patients, colleagues raised concerns about doctor, inquiry told

Tuesday 05 January 2016 23.33
Dr Omar Hassan is facing 11 allegations of professional misconduct and or poor professional performance
Dr Omar Hassan is facing 11 allegations of professional misconduct and or poor professional performance

Patients and colleagues raised concerns about the work of a surgical senior house officer, a Medical Council inquiry has heard.

The inquiry is hearing evidence into alleged events at three Health Service Executive hospitals involving Dr Omar Hassan, who qualified as a doctor in Sudan.  

Dr Hassan is facing 11 allegations of professional misconduct and or poor professional performance in relation to care of patients and interaction with some colleagues.

The inquiry is looking at alleged events at three hospitals - the Midland Regional Hospital, Portlaoise, Mayo General Hospital and University Hospital Galway, at various times between September 2012 and February 2014.

A female patient has told the inquiry that Dr Hassan told her not to complain about him, or his work, after failing to insert a line into a vein for intravenous fluid, and causing her pain, at the Midland Regional Hospital, Portlaoise.

She said she felt frightened and intimidated after the incident.

Patient AK said she became distressed when suffering stinging and burning after Dr Hassan failed to put the line into her arm on up to five occasions.

She said Dr Hassan continued to try to put the line in after she asked him to cease.

He eventually stopped and she was crying.

Patient AK is in her late 40s and was a private patient for the procedure on 24 September 2012.

She said she knew the line was not in the vein, as she had lines put in before with no problems.

She told a nurse what happened and the nurse wrote up an incident report form.

Patient AK said Dr Hassan was aggressive towards her and had a very bad bedside manner.

She told the inquiry Dr Hassan leaned down and said: "You make no complaint about me or my work".

However at the inquiry today, Dr Hassan apologised to her for her experience and said he did not mean to hurt her.

He did not recall saying she should make no complaint.

Earlier, a senior manager at the Midland Regional Hospital, Portlaoise told the inquiry that Dr Hassan started working there on 17 July 2012.

Medical manpower officer Eadaoin Cooke said it was his first post in Ireland.

After problems were reported early on with his performance, she met Dr Hassan on 3 August to discuss the issues, which included arriving late, arguing with colleagues and blaming others for problems.

A report of that meeting read to the inquiry acknowledged he was new to the system.

It also noted he was argumentative during it and threatened to contact the Medical Council.

Dr Hassan was taken off call, except for 9-5 during days.

Ms Cooke said that in October issues returned and a number of incident reports were made in relation to Dr Hassan's work.

Dr Hassan was relieved of his clinical duties on 19 October 2012.

Colleagues reported him incorrectly diagnosing allergies, writing up wrong prescription drug doses and had raised concerns about patient safety.

Ms Cooke told the inquiry Dr Hassan's employment ceased at Portlaoise on 1 January 2013.

Patient KD gave evidence of keyhole surgery at Portlaoise in September 2012, during which she was accidentally burned by Dr Hassan.

The inquiry has heard that he accidentally stood on a diathermy pedal - a machine which uses heat to halt bleeding.

Patient KD said she only learned of the incident after the operation when her sister read the medical notes at her bed.

She told the inquiry the skin burn area caused some discomfort and was sore.

Patient KD said that a claim against the hospital was later settled.

Today, Dr Hassan apologised to her for the accident.

Earlier, Chris Dalton, clinical nurse manager at Portlaoise, said that on 1 October 2012, Dr Hassan failed to respond to being bleeped three times, which was unusual.

She felt that he was avoiding work.

Dr Hassan told the inquiry he was probably tied up in the emergency department at the time.

Nurse Elaine McEvoy gave evidence of trying to get Dr Hassan to respond to bleeps in Portlaoise on 5 October 2012 at around 11.30am.

She said Dr Hassan rang back after lunch about 2pm saying he could not attend as he was in Friday prayer.

She told him he was needed in the day ward.

Ms McEvoy said Dr Hassan came to the ward screaming "who is she, where is she" and shouted and laughed in her face.

She said she was in fear of him and felt physically and emotionally shaken and there were also around 15 patients in the ward who could hear, along with staff.

Ms McEvoy said it was very unprofessional and disrespectful.

Dr Hassan told the inquiry he totally denied the allegation of aggressive behaviour made by Ms McEvoy.

He said his time away from the day ward that day was less than 30 minutes.

When the inquiry resumed this morning, Dr Hassan said he wanted time to arrange legal representation, leading to an adjournment to allow him to do so.

The Fitness to Practise Committee decided that the inquiry was to proceed following a short adjournment this afternoon to assist Dr Hassan.

Barrister Frank Beatty for the council said that Dr Hassan was aware for at least a year that he was entitled to legal representation.

He said there was a history of Dr Hassan asserting that he was getting legal advice but this did not materialise.

A number of lawyers had been engaged by him in the past but came off record within days.

The Fitness to Practise Committee considered the application and its chairman, Dr Michael Ryan, said that this was day two of the inquiry, around 30 witnesses had been summoned and it would proceed but adjourn later to enable Dr Hassan see if it was possible to find representation.

Dr Hassan also told the inquiry he was unhappy his name had appeared in media reports of yesterday's proceedings and that he also took issue with some reports.

Mr Beatty said it had been clear to Dr Hassan since last August, that the inquiry would be in public and he had made no application for it to be in private.

The inquiry has adjourned until tomorrow.