Doctor left baby ‘close to death’ at Sick Kids

Children's medic faces ban for life-threatening failings. Picture: Bill Henry
Children's medic faces ban for life-threatening failings. Picture: Bill Henry
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A SENIOR children’s doctor has been found guilty of serious misconduct for “potentially life-threatening” failings in his treatment of three patients.

Dr Kiran Patwardhan admitted a string of errors while working at the Sick Kids hospital in Edinburgh in 2011.

A 15-month-old baby was “close to death” when complications arose during a procedure to remove a breathing tube, a Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service heard.

Dr Patwardhan is now facing a possible ban after a panel found his fitness to practise was impaired by his misconduct.

Professor Denis McDevitt, chairman of the panel, said: “The panel considers that your actions in all three of the incidents put patients at risk and that, without your colleagues acting as they did, there could have been serious consequences.”

He added: “It agrees with the two expert witnesses that your failings during these three incidents amounted to misconduct and that the misconduct was serious.”

The most serious incident involved a baby suffering from scalds when Dr Patwardhan took over his care.

Dr Patwardhan was not present at the start of the procedure, but the panel found no evidence to suggest that he should have known it would be difficult and been there from the start.

When he did arrive he allowed a junior doctor to attempt to re-insert a breathing tube and when complications arose failed to take control of the situation.

A colleague was called who managed to rescue the situation and the child, known as Patient LS, was unharmed.

Concerns were raised by nurses when Dr Patwardhan bungled the changing of a breathing tube on a five-year-old patient in June 2011 at Stirling Hospital.

Dr Patwardhan admitted to mistakes during the procedure, but the panel found his technique was not “poor” as alleged.

On 5 August, 2011, Dr Patwardhan, along with an experienced nurse, was transferring a two-week-old baby with heart problems from Edinburgh to Glasgow for an operation.

Minutes after they left the hospital the patient’s condition began to deteriorate as the level of oxygen in the blood dropped.

Dr Patwardhan admitted coming to the wrong conclusion about the cause. The nurse was forced to take control of the situation and the patient’s condition improved as a result.

The doctor’s senior manager and assistant medical director at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Dr Edward Doyle, told the panel that Dr Patwardhan would keep his job if allowed to continue practising.

Robin Kitching, for the General Medical Council, told the panel that due to the seriousness of the doctor’s failings, the minimum sanction should be a period of conditional registration to restrict and monitor his work.

“In all the circumstances of this case the appropriate sanction is one of at least conditions,” he said.

The hearing continues.