"While dictators rage and statesmen talk, all Europe dances — to The Lambeth Walk."

Monday, 4 May 2009

Doctor Death

When people defend mass immigration, their favourite example of immigration working and being of benefit to society is the number of immigrants working in the National Health Service (NHS).

Many hospitals are now almost exclusively staffed by foreign doctors and nurses, particularly in large cities.

Many are hard working and dedicated, but they also seem to generate a very high number of cases of misconduct and incompetence.

That aside, there are other issues - I have had several experiences where it has been almost impossible to understand a doctor's accent, or where their English was so poor it was practically necessary to have a translator.

This is not something which is very pleasant when you are ill or trying to ascertain what is happening to a relative.

Some argue that without foreign doctors the NHS would collapse - but this is a dishonest argument for two reasons. Firstly the pressure on public services of most areas in the UK is only caused by immigration in the first place.

Secondly, thanks to the European Union British and British-trained doctors have to compete for jobs in British hospitals on equal terms with foreign medics. This means that tree junior doctors will now apply for every available post. Due to this and the failure of the government's planned central database to make it easier for junior doctors to find suitable jobs, thousands have fled abroad, where they are generally recognised as among the best trained in the world.

It costs the UK taxpayer up to £250,000 to fully train a doctor.

This means that there is often a shortage of out-of-hours doctors in the UK, and they have to be brought in from abroad via agencies specially designed for the purpose. However, many have no knowledge at all of British laws and practices, and obviously they have no personal experience of their patients.

This situation turned to tragedy in February 2008, when a Nigerian German-trained doctor accidentally killed a patient during his first shift in Britain.

Due to tiredness, Dr Daniel Ubani (above left) confused morphine with a more mild painkiller and injected 70 year old kidney patient David Gray (above right) with a lethal dose at his home.

When he admitted what had happened, he was sacked on the spot and returned to his clinic in Germany. British police issued an arrest warrant when a post mortem confirmed his error was the cause of death, but he was tried in Germany instead - where he received a suspended prison sentence of nine months and a €5,000 fine.

Ubani, a doctor for 22 years, wrote to the family to beg forgiveness, blaming exhaustion for the mistake, as well as the fact he was unfamiliar with working in Britain. They are considering a civil action, however.

Hours after he killed Mr Gray, an 86 year old woman died of a heart attack after Ubani gave her medication. No link between that and his actions was ever proven.

If you perform a Google search, a disturbing number of similar cases come to light. I have chosen the three worst cases of misconduct to present here, mainly revolving around the harassment of patients and inappropriate conduct.

1) An Iraqi consultant surgeon working at the Pilgrim Hospital in Boston, Lincolnshire made a series of inappropriate comments to patients and staff during his four years of working there.

Dr Mohannad Al-Fallouji, who told a patient "you have cancer, I have asthma, we all have to die sometime", was eventually struck off. During his time at the hospital he became notorious for his predatory nature with regard to young women and vulnerable patients.

The following is a run down of his crimes:

The GMC had previously heard how the surgeon told a shocked cancer patient in her fifties that she was terminally ill with the words: "Even princes and kings all have to die. You should be privileged you have time to make your will before your death."

The committee heard that the doctor told a female medical student who said that she would like to become a surgeon that women were only suited to do breast surgery.

He told a receptionist that her necklace was sexual, a nurse that everyone needs a husband and a lover, and an Iranian medical student under his supervision that women were only here to pleasure men.

Dr Al-Fallouji, whose hobby is bee-keeping and who has written a medical paper on the medical aspects of love-bite injuries, was also found to have made "unnecessary comments about oral sex, erections and flavoured condoms" to medical students.

The married doctor, who qualified from Baghdad University, was also found to have kissed a ward sister on the lips and touched her clothes in her crotch area, to have bitten a student nurse on the neck and told a patient who had asked him about his condition to "shut up and listen".

He reduced another patient who was asking him questions to tears on another occasion by deliberately ignoring him during a ward round.

Dr Al-Fallouji, who denied the allegations against him, sent a Christmas card to a young female patient in December 1998 which was "inappropriately flirtatious".

He was also reprimanded for his manner with other staff, for asking one doctor if he was as quick with his wife as he was in theatre, for shouting abuse, for telling one theatre nurse that she was "bloody useless" and for writing false but disparaging references about other members of staff.

Committee chair Ms Walker told the surgeon: "Your conduct fell seriously short of acceptable standards. You dishonestly wrote deliberately misleading and derogatory references for a junior colleague.

"You indecently assaulted a ward sister on two occasions.
"On a number of occasions you sexually harassed nurses and young female medical students who were under your supervision.

"You sent a Christmas card to a young, vulnerable female patient which was inappropriately flirtatious and in which you attempted to arrange a secret meeting with her without her parents' knowledge or consent.

Al-Fallouji's reaction to this was to claim that he had been 'persecuted' for standing up to management and that it 'was like David & Goliath'.

In a case in late March 2009, Dr Mohammed Manzoor Ali was struck off by the GMC for a catalogue of sexually inappropriate behaviour at Maidstone Hospital and Medway Maritime Hospital (incidentally, my local hospital).

His list of crimes:

Dr Mohammed Manzoor Ali was banned last week after the General Medical Council (GMC) ruled his behaviour was “sexually motivated, indecent and dishonest”.

A Fitness to Practise Panel hearing – which Dr Ali did not attend – centred on allegations involving five nurses at Maidstone Hospital and Medway Maritime Hospital.

During the four day hearing the panel heard more than 30 accusations of misconduct against Dr Ali, including eight incidents of sexually motivated and indecent conduct towards the nurses.

The charges included Dr Ali touching a nurse’s bottom on three separate occasions, pulling at another nurse’s bra strap and grabbing a nurse’s right breast. It was said that on more than one occasion he followed the nurses into offices, tugged at their clothing and often grabbed them by the wrist.

Despite apologising for his behaviour several times and being asked by the nurses to stop touching them he continued his inappropriate manner.

A GMC spokesman said: “Dr Ali abused the trust which colleagues were entitled to place him. In doing so, his conduct has a detrimental effect on patient care as his actions undermined the effectiveness of the clinical team as a whole.

“The panel found that Dr Ali’s sexually motivated, indecent and dishonest conduct had damaged public confidence in the medical profession.”

In December 2008 Dr Parag Bhatt was struck off by the GMC for a series of sexual assaults on female patients. When arrested for his crimes, he insisted until the last that his actions were 'legitimate medical examinations'. Decide for yourself:

A 37-year-old woman made two separate complaints against Bhatt.
The first came after she lost a lot of weight and went to see the GP due to shortness of breath.
He told her to take off her top and put his stethoscope inside her bra and had a 'little feel around with his fingers' while holding the stethoscope.
On the second occasion he put his hand inside her bra and brushed her nipple as he held the stethoscope.

A 20-year-old woman went complaining of stomach pains and sickness but was quizzed her about her sex life.

Bhatt said she might be pregnant and performed an internal examination. He then asked if he could examine her breasts while her knickers were still down.
She took off her top and bra and was naked on the couch. The GP then rubbed her breasts, in particular the nipples.

Another 37-year- old woman's complaint centres on a time she visited the surgery with a suspected broken finger. Having looked at her finger, the GP asked about her sex life.
She thought he was flirting with her. When she asked for a repeat prescription he took out his stethoscope and put it on her chest and moved it on to her breasts over her bra.

He then lifted a breast up, said Miss Wright, and pulled it out of her bra and put the stethoscope on it. She had to put her own breast back in the top and zip up and felt her privacy had been invaded.

One complainant was a 17-year-old who had dry skin around her nipple. Bhatt told her to take her bra off and lie on the couch.

He started to play with her breasts with his fingers around her nipples and was breathing heavily. He went to his computer and operated it with one hand while using his other to rub her breast.

Miss Wright told the court: 'She felt it was much like something her boyfriend would do more than a doctor.'

The GP then put his hand inside her bra and rubbed her nipple, telling her she needed a new bra. He never asked if she wanted a chaperone and the girl told her boyfriend the doctor was was 'pervy'.

A 22-year-old woman who went to see the GP four days after giving birth to her first child, saying she felt tenderness around her stomach.
Bhatt asked her to lie on the couch. He felt her stomach then said she needed an internal examination.

As she removed her underwear without a curtain being drawn around the bed she said he looked at her 'in a way which made her feel embarrassed and awkward'.
He asked if her breasts were tender and then reached inside her bra in a 'groping' motion. The woman felt as if she had been assaulted.

The final complainant, a 31-year-old woman, had been trying for a baby and went to Bhatt with stomach pains.

When she coughed he suggested she might have an infection and felt her breasts. He began playing with her right breast and started to 'tweak' her nipple. He then told her: 'No, you are not pregnant.'

In light of this, and given that these serious incidents are a mere sample, are foreign doctors killing or curing the NHS?

I for one would be comfortable if British doctors took priority, followed by those from other Western countries, then only those that were very carefully screened.

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