Thursday, October 09, 2008

Struck off!

A warning for doctors who recommend alternative therapies appeared today in the records of the General Medical Council. A doctor had been a patient's GP until 1995, but when she transferred to another GP, she continued to advise her on alternative therapies. In 2004 the patient was admitted to hospital cardiomyopathy which was treated and the patient discharged on drugs. Two months later the doctor sent a message to the patient telling her to stop her digoxin and then a few days later e-mailed her telling her to stop all her heart medication and sent a further message advising homeopathic remedies and diet. Eight days later the patient was admitted to hospital and died. The cause of death was given as 'acute heart failure due to treatment discontinuation'.

In 2007 the GMC fitness to practice panel ordered that the doctor be suspended from the medical register for one year, and this year her situation was reconsidered. The doctor complained that she had done nothing wrong, and that given the chance she would do the same thing again. Accordingly the Panel erased her name from the Medical Register.


Anonymous said...

Hard to believe she was only given a year's suspension at first glance. This woman killed her patient, not by ignorance, or by mistake, but by, what, insanity?

It's my opinion that doctor's boards are WAY too lenient on their charges. (I have some real knowledge of what goes on in boards, since years ago I worked closely with one in the United States.)

People you and I would never want anywhere near us were allowed to practice after flagrant abuse after fragrant abuse.

That's what you get when the fox guards the hen house. Doctors empathize with other docs, and see themselves in the same position. Public members should make up the majority of these regulatory boards.

Terry Hamblin said...

I think it is because everybody is way to lenient to homeopathy.

Burke said...

Dr. Hamblin,

Shortly after you retired last March, you gave us some examples of malpractice by committees running hospitals there and stated that you were glad you no longer worked for the NHS. But here we have an example of an incompetant doctor being disciplined by a governmental committee and eventually being removed after she killed someone.

Seems to me that the best system is one in which patients are free to choose their doctors themselves and take the consequences themselves--i.e. a free market.

Terry Hamblin said...

A free market, yes, but the presence of the GMC makes it a regulated one.