3:42 pm - Saturday November 16, 6897

SEPSIS KID DEATH CASE IN BRITAIN: ‘NIGERIAN-BRITISH Doctor, HADIZA BAWA-GARBA wins Appeal against UK High Court earlier Ruling…New Judgement vindicates her, orders her to Resume work unmolested * Medical Doctor absolved from the death of six-year-old Jack Adcock * ‘The Court of Appeal sets aside the order of the divisional court that Dr Bawa-Garba should be erased from the medical register and restores the order of the tribunal that she be suspended from practice for 12 months, subject to review’ *RULES: ‘Earlier High Court was wrong to strike off pediatrician after medical tribunal found it would be disproportionate in light of mitigating factors’ BY TIMOTHY ELEBURE/MEDICAL REPORTER, LONDON

SEPSIS KID DEATH CASE IN BRITAIN:

‘NIGERIAN-BRITISH Doctor, HADIZA BAWA-GARBA wins Appeal against UK High Court earlier Ruling…New Judgement vindicates her, orders her to Resume work unmolested

* Medical Doctor absolved from the death of six-year-old Jack Adcock

* ‘The Court of Appeal sets aside the order of the divisional court that Dr Bawa-Garba should be erased from the medical register and restores the order of the tribunal that she be suspended from practice for 12 months, subject to review’

*RULES: ‘Earlier High Court was wrong to strike off pediatrician after medical tribunal found it would be disproportionate in light of mitigating factors’

BY TIMOTHY ELEBURE/MEDICAL REPORTER, LONDON

TRUTH AND JUSTICE ARE GRADUALLY PREVAILING FOR NIGERIAN Born British Naturalized medical doctor, HADIZA BAWA-GARBA, as a United Kingdom Court of Appeal have set aside the earlier ruling of the High Court, stating that Dr Bawa-Garba should be erased from the medical register and restores the order of the tribunal that she be suspended from practice for 12 months, subject to review.’

The judges said: “High Court ‘wrong’ to strike off pediatrician after medical tribunal found it would be disproportionate in light of mitigating factors.” The reports state that the doctor struck off over mistakes that led to the death of six-year-old Jack Adcock in 2011 could return to work after the Court of Appeal upheld her challenge against the decision.

On Monday, Dr Garba won her appeal against against a High Court ruling earlier in 2018 which said erasing her from the medical register was the only way to maintain confidence in the profession. But the Court of Appeal found the earlier judgement was “wrong” and overturned its decision that Garba should be erased, reinstating a 12-month suspension. The General Medical Council (GMC) has said it will not challenge the Court of Appeal judgement further.

The case and the GMC’s role has become a flash point for the medical profession, which has raised concerns about the chronic under-staffing and unsustainable pressures in the health service, and the lack of protection for those working under these conditions.

The judgement by chief justice Lord Burnett, Sir Terence Etherton, and Lady Justice Rafferty said: “The Court of Appeal unanimously allows the appeal and it holds that divisional court was wrong to interfere with the decision of the tribunal.

The Court of Appeal sets aside the order of the divisional court that Dr Bawa-Garba should be erased from the medical register and restores the order of the tribunal that she be suspended from practice for 12 months, subject to review.”

Speaking to the BBC from Nigeria after the ruling, Garba said: “I’m very pleased with the outcome, but I want us to pay tribute and remember Jack Adcock, a wonderful little boy who started this story. I want to let the parents know I am sorry for my role in what has happened to Jack.

I’ve dedicated my life to medicine, it is my purpose. I can’t see myself being anything else but a practising doctor serving the community. So of course when I got the news that I can be given the opportunity to work again, I was very pleased and I thank god for this day.”

Jack, who was born with Down’s syndrome and a heart condition, was admitted to Leicester University Hospitals NHS Trust with digestive and respiratory issues and was treated for acute gastroenteritis initially, but died from sepsis brought on by pneumonia.

Though still training to be a paediatric consultant, Dr Bawa-Garba was the senior doctor on the ward and was found guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence over the death, but the GMC’s own tribunal service ruled in 2017 she should be allowed to return to work after a suspension of 12 months.

The Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service had said erasure was “disproportionate” taking into consideration failings at the trust, including a lack of senior consultant cover, IT problems and staff shortages leaving Dr Bawa-Garba covering several wards.

However, the GMC argued it was not the tribunal service’s job to overrule the courts and that Dr Garba’s mistakes, including failing to spot “barn door” signs of sepsis, according to expert witnesses, should lead to her deregistrations. Recent ruling confirms that the tribunal service was right to take account of the wider context and mitigating factors in forming its judgement.

Doctors and supporters raised hundreds of thousands to hire an independent legal team for the appeal, with many saying Garba was being scapegoated for systemic failures which were becoming increasingly common across the NHS.

Former health and social care secretary Jeremy Hunt had also spoken out against the decision to have Garba struck off, saying it would harm efforts to introduce a learning culture in the NHS and ordering a review into the gross negligence manslaughter charge in healthcare.

Certainly, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

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