By Liz Farsaci
A RADIOLOGIST who made serious errors in relation to a number of his CT scan reports while working at Bantry General Hospital has been found guilty of poor professional performance at a medical inquiry.
The matter of sanctions against the doctor will be determined at a later date.
Dr Dawar Siddiqi, who worked as a locum consultant radiologist at Bantry General Hospital between May and September 2013, faced the allegation of poor professional performance throughout the Fitness to Practise inquiry at the Medical Council in Dublin.
Specifically, it was alleged that Dr Siddiqi, with a last known address in Cork, made serious errors in one or more of 20 cases identified by an independent expert, Dr Peter Ellis.
These cases included patients who were facing a number of serious issues, including a potential brain tumour, and the serious threat of cancer spreading throughout the lymph nodes.
The inquiry committee determined late on Tuesday of this week that Dr Siddiqi made serious errors in 11 of these cases.
In his closing remarks on Tuesday, JP McDowell, legal counsel for the Medical Council, said the most concerning aspect of this inquiry ‘is the lack of insight displayed by Dr Siddiqi into his own shortcomings’.
Mr McDowell reminded the inquiry that Dr Siddiqi had conceded that, prior to taking up the post in Bantry, he did not have any independent CT reporting skills. Mr McDowell also reminded the inquiry that Dr Siddiqi admitted last week that CT reporting was the weaker part of his skillset.
Despite the mitigating factors in terms of work environment and conditions, Mr McDowell said the hospital was entitled to rely on Dr Siddiqi’s competence and ability to do the job he was hired for, as he had led them to believe that he had the relevant experience.
In his closing submissions, Dr Siddiqi argued that he has been at a disadvantage throughout the inquiry, as he has been legally representing himself.
‘Please consider the handicaps which I am having to face in this inquiry from Day One,’ said Dr Siddiqi.
The radiologist defended his competence, arguing: ‘I have proven my skills in the period before and after [Bantry].’ Therefore, he said, the issue must lie with the hospital and not with himself.
‘I have already suffered a lot at the hands of the Medical Council and CUH [Cork University Hospital, which now has remit for Bantry],’ said Dr Siddiqi. ‘This is what I want to bring to your notice, that the procedures applied to me were totally unfair.’
Dr Siddiqi was hired to work as a locum consultant radiologist at Bantry for the period between May and November 2013. However, because of concerns from the hospital, he ceased working there in September 2013.
Throughout the inquiry, Dr Siddiqi denied the allegation and claimed that the circumstances in which he worked – including a busy, stressful work environment and lack of support from other radiologists – constituted serious mitigating factors.
Dr Siddiqi did not remain at the inquiry on Tuesday evening to hear the ruling.