A doctor found guilty of ‘poor professional performance’ worked for more than six weeks at Letterkenny general hospital, an inquiry has found.
Dr Alabi Emmanuel Gdaedbo, 49, has been found guilty of poor professional performance over his inability to perform basic clinical functions when appointed a senior house officer in the maternity unit of Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda.
The hospital was “desperate for junior doctors” when it gave Co Cork-based Dr Gbaedbo a six-month contract in July 2010 without obtaining any positive references for him, an inquiry by the Medical Council’s fitness-to-practise committee was told yesterday by Dr Marie Milner, a consultant obstetrician at the hospital.
Problems became “immediately obvious” and his contract was terminated five weeks later, she said. She wrote to the council saying he was “absolutely unsuitable for work as a doctor”.
No incident arose where a patient came to harm and Dr Alabi was closely supervised from the outset, she stressed.
She later learned Mayo General Hospital, where he worked for two months as a senior house officer in 2009, was “not happy” to provide him with a reference.
Dr Milner said letters were sent to his referees and she would normally check with a previous employer but in this case had to find doctors urgently.
Dr Alabi, who worked at Letterkenny hospital from August 25th to October 12th, 2010, is now unemployed but remains on the general medical register.
His case raised issues whether the medical training being provided to doctors in certain countries left them “fit for purpose”, Dr Seosamh Ó Coigligh, another senior consultant obstetrician at the Lourdes hospital, told the inquiry.
There was potential risk to the doctor himself as well as others, he believed.
Dr Milner, who was involved in appointing Dr Alabi, said he was given a six-month contract in perhaps “unique” circumstances where the hospital was in a rotation with other hospitals to begin July 2010 and where seven senior house officer posts had been twice advertised but only four filled.
Dr Alabi was on a panel and was appointed in late June after others had pulled out.
It emerged within days that Dr Alabi had difficulties with suturing, cannulas and other basic procedures, that he was unable to identify the appropriate measures to take when common obstetrical problems arose and he displayed problems with note-taking and writing prescriptions, the inquiry was told.
Dr Yayha Kamal, also from the Lourdes hospital, said he was shocked to see Dr Alabi “hardly washed his hands” before assisting in theatre.
For patient safety, Dr Alabi could not be left on his own, he believed.
On July 15th, 2010, Dr Milner wrote to Medical Manpower about the problems and said a programme, including conditions that he be supervised in all clinical matters and not placed on the on-call roster, was in place to address the deficits.
When he failed to show sufficient improvement, his contract was terminated on August 13th.
The Medical Council ordered an inquiry into allegations of professional misconduct and poor professional performance.
Dr Alabi, a native of Nigeria, qualified as a doctor in Belarus in 1994, the inquiry heard. He passed the General Medical Council entrance exams and holds a master’s qualification in women’s health from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.
He worked from 2005 for periods as a clinical attachment – a learning post – in hospitals in Cork and Waterford.
He did not attend the inquiry but told its members by telephone it could proceed in his absence, adding he could not afford lawyers. In letters, he disputed some of the claims about his performance.
The inquiry found him not guilty of professional misconduct but guilty of poor professional performance in failing to meet the expected standards of clinical performance and/or competence in several matters.
It also found Dr Alabi guilty of poor professional performance in failing to improve despite getting further training and supervision.
The Medical Council will rule later on any sanctions to be imposed.