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Sunday 4 December 2016

'Doctor didn't know CPR, or what a melanoma was' - medical inquiry is told

Dr Muthulingam Kasiraj (aka Dr Sripathy) has been accused of professional misconduct
Dr Muthulingam Kasiraj (aka Dr Sripathy) has been accused of professional misconduct

A junior doctor was unable to carry out CPR and didn't understand common medical conditions, a medical hearing has been told.

The doctor, who is facing 24 allegations at an Irish Medical Council inquiry, was allegedly unable to perform basic medical examinations and once prescribed a medication without knowing what it was for.

Indian national Dr Muthulingam Kasiraj (36), who prefers to be known as Dr Sripathy, has been accused of poor professional performance, or professional misconduct.

One consultant told the council hearing he had "never seen that volume of errors from one doctor in all my years".

Incorrect

The council heard that on numerous occasions Dr Sripathy wrote incorrect medicine dosages on letters for patients' GPs.

It was alleged he didn't know what herpes simplex was, that malignant melanoma was a skin condition or how to preform CPR.

On an occasion in August 2013, he prescribed a drug to a patient and later admitted he did not know what the drug was for.

Dr Sripathy submitted that he was told by a nurse that a consultant had phoned and instructed her to tell him to write the prescription.

There was no evidence heard about any ill-effects suffered by patients cared for by Dr Sripathy, as a result of his actions.

The doctor qualified in Bulgaria in 2005 and registered in Ireland in 2012.

He worked for Child and Adolescent Services in Mullingar, Co Westmeath, for the first six months of 2013 and then for St Loman's Hospital, in Mullingar, from July until December that year.

Dr Ciaran Corcoran, who was Dr Sripathy's supervising consultant at St Loman's, referred the junior doctor to the council after he became increasingly concerned about patient safety.

Dr Corcoran told the council he tried to help Dr Sripathy in every way he could and even gave him final-year medical books to study.

He gave evidence about how he initially became concerned and said the difficulties came despite the doctor's polite, friendly and punctual manner.

"I asked what steps would you take if someone collapsed in front of you in the supermarket or in the community?

"You get help, you call an ambulance. I was surprised he did not have that knowledge," Dr Corcoran said.

Dr Sripathy had no legal counsel at the hearing and represented himself. He put it to Dr Corcoran that regarding one allegation, rather than saying he didn't know how to preform a basic neurological exam, he meant he didn't know how it was performed in St Loman's.

"What was communicated to me was 'I don't know,' rather than 'here's how I do it'. The sense was of not knowing," Dr Corcoran told the council.

"I've never seen that volume of errors from one doctor in all my years," he said.

Difficulties

Dr Corcoran told the council he suspected there may have been a psychological reason for Dr Sripathy's difficulties, such as ADHD.

But he said he was conscious he wasn't Dr Sripathy's doctor and wasn't going to diagnose him. He did try and help his colleague and even searched for ADHD specialists in India who he might visit for help.

The council was told Dr Sripathy was subsequently diagnosed with anankastic personality disorder, which is an obsessive compulsive condition.

Dr Enda Hayden, also a consultant at St Loman's, gave evidence that he didn't agree that the doctor had obsessive personality traits.

Dr Sripathy chose not to cross-examine the consultant.

The hearing reconvenes on Monday.

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