Suspended brain doctor’s ‘17½ per cent test score’

Dundee's Ninewells Hospital where neurologist Dr Wlodzimierz Szepielow worked. Picture: Ian Rutherford

Dundee's Ninewells Hospital where neurologist Dr Wlodzimierz Szepielow worked. Picture: Ian Rutherford

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A POLISH brain doctor who was suspended following the death of one of his patients scored just 17.5 per cent in a performance test.

Neurologist Dr Wlodzimierz Szepielow was working at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee before his contract was terminated last year.

A panel in July 2011 found Dr Szepielow’s fitness to practise was impaired by his deficient professional performance but allowed him to continue to work under conditions for 18 months.

He needed 52 per cent to pass a knowledge test last year but could only manage a recordbreaking 17.5 per cent – the lowest mark an assessor with more than 15 years experience can 
remember.

His performance in the knowledge test and medical exams was so poor that the assessment team decided it would be inappropriate for Dr Szepielow to continue to practise and he was suspended.

The Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service found his expertise was so sub-standard that Dr Szepielow could have brought the profession into disrepute.

Tribunal panel chair Dr Malcolm Phillips said: “Dr Szepielow’s performance has deteriorated since his previous performance assessment in 2010. The panel finds little evidence of effective remediation by Dr Szepielow.

“It notes that he has attended some training but considers that this did not appropriately address his deficient performance.

“The panel finds that should Dr Szepielow be allowed to return to clinical practice, due to his lack of insight, he may be 
liable to bring the medical profession into disrepute.

“In the circumstances, the panel has determined that Dr Szepielow’s fitness to practise is impaired by reason of his deficient professional performance.”

Dr Szepielow’s performance was also found to be unacceptable in the areas of “assessment, treatment, investigations, maintaining good medical practice and in his relationship with 
patients”.

The panel must now decide what sanction to impose on the doctor, the most serious of which is to strike him off.

He arrived in the UK in 2005 and received several patient complaints as well as concerns raised by colleagues over the next two years.

A review of a selection of Dr Szepielow’s outpatients led to his suspension by the Tayside NHS trust in 2007 after the death of a patient with status epilepticus – a prolonged seizure.

But Dr Szepielow did not come to the attention of the General Medical Council until 2009, resulting in an assessment of his professional performance.

Dr Szepielow is not present or represented at the hearing, which continues.

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