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Dr Bawa-Garba wins appeal

Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba, who was convicted of manslaughter by gross negligence over the death of a six-year-old boy in the UK in 2015, in August won her appeal to practise medicine again.

30 Aug 2018

Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba, who was convicted of manslaughter by gross negligence over the death of a six-year-old boy in the UK in 2015, in August won her appeal to practise medicine again.

She was struck off in January this year over the death of Jack Adcock, who died of sepsis at Leicester Royal Infirmary in 2011.

BBC News reports that the doctor said she was ‘pleased with the outcome’ but wanted to ‘pay tribute and remember Jack Adcock, a wonderful little boy’.

Jack's mother, Nicola Adcock, said she was ‘disgusted’ and ‘devastated’ by the judgement, and that it made a ‘mockery of the justice system’.

Dr Bawa-Garba said that she wanted to let the parents know that she was sorry for her role in what happened to Jack.

"I also want to acknowledge and give gratitude to people around the world, from the public to the medical community, who have supported me,” Dr Bawa-Garba said.

The doctor's appeal was funded by medics because they said the ruling would discourage practitioners from being open when reviewing mistakes.

Jack, who had Down's syndrome and a heart condition, had been admitted to the hospital in Leicester with vomiting and diarrhoea in 2011.

He died 11 hours later from a cardiac arrest caused by sepsis triggered by pneumonia.

The subsequent trial in 2015 heard the boy's death was caused by ‘serious neglect’ by staff who failed to recognise his body was ‘shutting down’ and close to death, the prosecution claimed.

At one point, Dr Bawa-Garba mistook Jack for another patient who had a ‘do not resuscitate’ order, the court was told.

The paediatric specialist only resumed treatment when a junior doctor pointed out the error, although the prosecution accepted Jack had already been ‘past the point of no return’.

Dr Bawa-Garba said in her defence she had worked a 12-hour shift with no break and there was a lot of miscommunication in the ward.

Dr Bawa-Garba was suspended from the medical register for a year in June 2017.

However, the General Medical Council (GMC) appealed against the decision, claiming it was ‘not sufficient to protect the public’, and she was struck off in January 2018.

Thousands of doctors signed an open letter of support for Dr Bawa-Garba stating the case would ‘lessen our chances of preventing a similar death’.

Earlier, three senior judges quashed the High Court's decision and restored the lesser sanction of a one-year suspension.

Announcing the ruling, Master of the Rolls, Sir Terence Etherton, said no concerns had ever been raised about the clinical competence of Dr Bawa-Garba, other than in relation to Jack's death.

"The evidence before the tribunal was that she was in the top third of her specialist trainee cohort," he said.

He added that the tribunal was satisfied her actions in relation to the boy were neither deliberate nor reckless, and did not present a continuing risk to patients.

 


Published: 30 Aug 2018