herald

Saturday 10 December 2016

'Doctor was rude but he didn't slap patient' - nurse

INQUIRY

Catriona Kenny
Catriona Kenny
Helen Cruise & her daughter Aneka Cruise during a Medical Council fitness-to-practise inquiry

A gynaecologist facing serious allegations of poor professional performance was "very rude" to a patient who had just undergone a serious operation but did not "beat" her, a nurse who cared for the patient has claimed.

Staff nurse Catriona Kenny, who worked at Aut Even hospital in August 2011, told a Medical Council fitness to practise inquiry that she was "left with the impression" Peter Van Geene had shown "bad bedside manner" in a meeting with patient Helen Cruise, who alleges the surgeon shouted at her and slapped her on the hands and legs.

Ms Kenny was giving evidence on the third day of the inquiry into allegations made by four patients against the doctor while he was working at the private hospital in Co Kilkenny between 2009 and 2011.

Shocked

Earlier this week Ms Cruise, said she was shocked by Mr Van Geene's manner when she met him after he performed a vaginal hysterectomy and laparotomy on August 23, 2011.

She claimed the doctor had become aggressive and shouted "sue me, sue me, sue me" at her and slapped her hands and legs.

Mr Van Geene will dispute the allegations.

Ms Kenny provided care for Ms Cruise in the coronary care unit after she had been transferred to St Luke's hospital from Aut Even. She remembered organising and attending a meeting with Mr Van Geene, Ms Cruise and Ms Cruise's daughter Aneka on August 31.

She said she does not remember "exactly what happened" but said she did recall the surgeon making reference to the patient's smoking and the word "sue" did come up.

"I felt that Helen was angry and her daughter was angry and upset," she told the inquiry. She added her "overall impression" was that Mr Van Geene was "very rude" and gave him a seven out of 10 for his rudeness.

She said it was one of the most extreme cases she had come across.

Asked under cross-examination if she recalled if Mr Van Geene "beat" the patient, she said she did not and did not recall "any untoward touching".

She said she had no recollection of there being any mention of "money or payment" during the meeting.

Sensitivity

Earlier, Dr Mohammad Akram, a general physician at Aut Even, said he did not know who gave the order for Ms Cruise to be transferred to St Luke's and said he never spoke to Mr Van Geene despite Ms Cruise "deteriorating".

The inquiry also heard from another complainant, Patient B, who said she could have have been treated with more "sensitivity" after undergoing surgery in Aut Even in 2010.

The inquiry continues.

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