Consultant cleared of misleading fatal accident inquiry into patient’s death

A senior doctor has been cleared of deliberately misleading a fatal accident inquiry into the death of an elderly patient he had treated.

The allegation that consultant physician Dr Ken Graham was misleading and dishonest during the inquiry into 84-year-old Eileen Peterson’s death in 2005 was found not proved by a GMC fitness to practice panel in Manchester.

Mrs Peterson died of pneumonia five hours after being discharged by Dr Graham to her care home at Taing House with a course of amoxicillin.

Dr Graham has been accused of treating Mrs Peterson for a urinary tract infection. However a statement of facts released by the panel today pointed to “documentary evidence” which “supports your case that you were treating Patient A [Mrs Peterson] for a chest infection rather than a UTI [urinary tract infection].

“Dr [Neil] Ineson [consultant physician] confirmed that amoxicillin is consistent for treatment of chest infections and community acquired pneumonia, although he stated it can also be a second line treatment for UTIs.

“The panel accepts your evidence that you would not treat a UTI with amoxicillin.

“The panel has, therefore, determined that your evidence before the FAI that Patient A’s medical records incorrectly recorded the diagnosis that you had made was not misleading.”

The panel also took into account Dr Graham’s “good character” as well as the fact he had seen a post mortem report before giving evidence.

However the former medical director at NHS Shetland has admitted several failings in his assessment of Mrs Peterson, including not adequately assessing her hydration levels or the “nature and extent” of her infection, and making a poor clinical note in relation to her condition.

A statement from NHS Shetland said: “NHS Shetland has co-operated fully with the GMC in their fitness to practice hearing into the treatment, by Dr Ken Graham, of a patient in 2005 …
“However NHS Shetland believes it would be inappropriate to comment on the details of this case whilst the GMC hearing is continuing.”

The statement went on: “The GMC hearing is planned to last until the end of next week. Once the hearing is concluded, NHS Shetland will take the appropriate time to consider what, if any, actions or further lessons can be learned from this case so that we can continue to improve the care provided to patients at the Gilbert Bain Hospital.”


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