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Saturday 22 September 2018

Happily married couple's horror at STD blunder

Wrong call: Dr Iman Ekky got the diagnosis wrong. Photo: Collins
Wrong call: Dr Iman Ekky got the diagnosis wrong. Photo: Collins

A happily married couple, who endured a herpes misdiagnosis, said they hope no other couple has to go through the stress, devastation and utter embarrassment they suffered.

They were speaking after the doctor who made the misdiagnosis of the sexually transmitted infection was found guilty of poor professional performance.

Dr Iman Ekky who works at the Drumcondra Clinic in Dublin, told the 36-year-old mother, who can only be identified as Patient A, that she had herpes.

This was despite the woman's protests that she was in a loving and monogamous relationship.

A Medical Council fitness to practise inquiry into Dr Ekky's treatment heard that when informed of the diagnosis, Patient A felt 'stupid' and that she was being told that if she was not 'playing away' then her husband was.

Monogamous

Yesterday, all eight allegations of poor professional performance against Dr Ekky were found to be proven.

These included that she diagnosed Patient A with herpes in circumstances where there was no evidence for the diagnosis and that she failed to take into account that Patient A was in a monogamous relationship.

An allegation that Dr Ekky caused Patient A and her husband undue distress as a result of the diagnosis was also found to be proven.

Dr Ekky denied all allegations against her but didn't give evidence to the inquiry and didn't attend yesterday's hearing.

The couple, who met when they were teenagers and have been married for 12 of their 18 years together, spoke after the inquiry of the anxiety Dr Ekky's misdiagnosis caused them.

Patient A's husband said another couple might not have withstood the pressure of the original diagnosis.

"We hope and pray that nobody has to go through this stress, devastation and utter embarrassment as well, in many respects for my wife and family, ever again in regards to such a treatment and such a diagnosis," he said.

He added that a bartholin's cyst was an extremely common condition, which is easily diagnosed and treated.

During the two-day hearing, Patient A's husband described his wife as 'a lovely innocent lady' and said bringing an allegation of sexual misconduct to their home was 'unforgiveable'.

He told the hearing the couple had a 'highly monogamous relationship based on trust, respect and friendship' and said he was absolutely furious when told of the herpes diagnosis.

Patient A had attended Dr Ekky's clinic on April 25, 2012 because of a pea-sized lump on her genitals. She gave evidence of her 'complete shock' upon being told by Dr Ekky that she had herpes.

"I said is that not an STD? She said it was. I said it can't be possible because I am with my husband 18 years so it can't be an STD."

Patient A told the inquiry that she couldn't believe what she was hearing.

"To me it felt like she was saying, I kind of felt really stupid, I felt like she was kinda looking at me saying you're so stupid like if you're not playing away then your husband is," Patient A said.

Complaint

She added that when she asked Dr Ekky for a blood test to confirm the diagnosis, she was told that it would be too expensive.

Two days after the diagnosis, Patient A went for a second opinion with a local GP and was told she did not have herpes but was suffering from a bartholin's cyst, this was later confirmed by a gynaecologist.

Patient A decided to make a complaint against Dr Ekky.

The fitness to practise committee's report on the matter will now be forwarded to the board of the Medical Council, which will decide at a future date what penalty, if any, to impose on Dr Ekky.

hnews@herald.ie

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