Doctor guilty of misconduct over Pauline Cafferkey Ebola reading

Pauline Cafferkey had a temperature of 38.2C at Heathrow. Picture: Jon Savage
Pauline Cafferkey had a temperature of 38.2C at Heathrow. Picture: Jon Savage
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A “dishonest” doctor who admitted misleading other medics over Ebola nurse Pauline Cafferkey is guilty of serious misconduct, medical watchdogs have ruled.

Dr Hannah Ryan took the temperature of Scottish nurse Ms Cafferkey as they waited to go through Ebola virus screening at Heathrow Airport, the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service heard.

Ebola nurse Pauline Cafferkey

Ebola nurse Pauline Cafferkey

It revealed the nurse had a high temperature of 38.2C, a warning sign for Ebola.

But instead of raising the alarm, a lower temperature of 37.2 centigrade was recorded on a screening form and Ms Cafferkey was allowed to travel home to Scotland.

She fell seriously ill with Ebola the next day.

Dr Ryan admitted misleading other medics when she “acquiesced” with the lower temperature being recorded on the screening form.

Five days later, Dr Ryan was found to have been “dishonest” in her account of her involvement in the incident in a telephone call with a consultant investigating the matter for Public Health England (PHE).

The medic, who qualified from Liverpool University in 2009, had denied her practise as a doctor is impaired through her actions.

Yesterday, the three-member tribunal found against her, ruling her practise was impaired by her “serious misconduct.” Dr Bernard Herdan, chair of the panel, told Dr Ryan while her mistake was a “one-off”, it was a “grave one” and others could have been put at “unwarranted risk of harm” by Ms Cafferkey leaving Heathrow.

And her attempt later to conceal her involvement was “deeply deplorable,” the tribunal ruled.

Dr Ryan and Ms Cafferkey were part of a “selfless” group of UK medics who volunteered for dangerous and highly pressurised work in “horrendous” conditions, helping fight the outbreak in west Africa that left tens of thousands dead.

When they got back to the UK on December 28 2014 after two months away, they were “keen” to get back home to loved ones at Christmas time.

But the screening process by PHE medics at Heathrow Airport to ensure no-one brought the virus back to the UK was “shambolic”, with queues building up in the “crowded, noisy and chaotic” quarantined area, the hearing was told.

Ms Cafferkey, from Fife, was cleared by the The Nursing and Midwifery Council as her judgment at the airport had been so impaired by the developing illness she could not be found guilty of misconduct.