herald

Thursday 13 December 2018

Family's relief after cancer doctor found guilty over dad's death

THE family of a young father who died of skin cancer say they are satisfied after his GP was found guilty of professional misconduct for failing to adequately manage his care.

The Medical Council will now decide whether Dr Peter Ting, who is based in the North Dublin suburb of Artane, should face any sanctions, which can range from a written warning to cancellation of his registration.

The family of dad-of-one William Cashell (36) said they welcomed the ruling of the Fitness to Practise inquiry, and hoped Mr Cashell's death would raise awareness of skin cancer.



ITCHY

Dr Ting removed a mole from the back of Mr Cashell but did not send it for tests.

Mr Cashell (36) died in May 2008 -- 15 months after going to Dr Ting's surgery.

His father, Michael, said it had been a difficult three years for the family. "I'm happy with the verdict and I'm glad it's all over," he said.

The inquiry found Dr Ting guilty of six out of eight allegations of professional misconduct, including failing to send the mole for biopsy and failing to keep a record of the consultation with Mr Cashell in February 2007.

The GP gave evidence before the inquiry committee yesterday morning but was not present when the verdict was delivered.

Mr Cashell's partner, Lorraine Coady, with whom he has a son, Jake, who will celebrate his seventh birthday today, gave evidence.

She told how the mole was sore and itchy and had grown in size and darkened in colour between December 2006 and February 2007 when he went to Dr Ting.

In his evidence, the GP said he would never have removed the mole if he believed it was cancerous. He diagnosed it as a keratosis -- a benign growth on the surface of the skin -- and followed the usual treatment which is to remove it by cauterising it.

However, in doing this, the mole was destroyed meaning it could not be sent for testing.

The lawyer for the chief executive of the Medical Council, JP McDowell, said yesterday was the first time the doctor had mentioned a diagnosis of keratosis and accused Dr Ting of "shilly shallying".

"I did not think it was sinister in nature at all and that's why I proceeded with the procedure. If I did, I would not touch it and send the patient to a dermatologist," said Dr Ting.

He explained that when a doctor is confronted with a skin lesion, they consider all the possibilities and chief among these is melanoma.

He said that he looked at the features of the lesion based on the ABCs -- asymmetry, border, colour -- and arrived at a diagnosis of benign keratosis.



denial

Dr Ting told the hearing that the morning of Mr Cashell's consultation had been "very busy" and he estimated that he saw up to 40 patients between 10am and 1pm.

He said that when the surgery was busy, he often wrote up patient notes at lunchtime, however he could not say why the notes of this consultation were not recorded on the computer database.

Dr Ting admitted he had delayed in responding to correspondence from the Medical Council because he was in a "state of denial" and that the case had caused a lot of upset and confusion.

hnews@herald.ie

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