Cork-based doctor admits poor professional performance

A Cork-based doctor who failed to diagnose a potentially serious condition in a patient has pleaded guilty to poor professional performance at a fitness to practise inquiry of the Medical Council.

Dr Saleem Sharif, a locum GP from Ballyphehane, admitted he failed to properly examine and perform tests on the patient, who had given birth to twins two weeks earlier.

The patient, Alison Hickey, told the inquiry she was feeling very unwell and could barely walk when she went to see Dr Sharif at the GP Now clinic in Sandyford, Dublin, in October 2014.

“I felt like I had a really bad flu. I ached all over, it was hard for me to walk, and I had to be helped to get to and from the car.”

Two weeks earlier, at age 45, she had given birth to twin boys by emergency caesarean section. The twins, who were conceived using IVF, were born at 32 weeks and Ms Hickey was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia during the pregnancy.

Ms Hickey presented with flu-like symptoms and an odorous discharge. She said the appointment with Dr Sharif lasted less than five minutes, during which he asked her whether she had a sore throat and in relation to the discharge she was experiencing.

He did not check her temperature, blood pressure or heart rate and failed to carry out a breast or abdominal examination. He also failed to arrange a follow-up appointment.

Dr Sharif trained in his native Pakistan and has been on the medical register in Ireland since 2005. In 2011, he was found guilty of poor professional performance over his treatment of a cardiac patient in Cork two years earlier. Last year, he made a €733,000 settlement with the Revenue Commissioners in relation to his tax affairs.

In Ms Hickey’s case, he diagnosed a urinary tract infection and prescribed antibiotics for her. Very few questions were asked and there was little “interaction,” she said.

© The Indpendent

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