A doctor is still making ‘serious errors’ nearly seven years after she failed to spot a baby girl’s fatal condition.
Dr Salawati Abdul-Salam allowed nine-month-old Aleesha Evans to be discharged from the Royal Gwent Hospital, Newport, after telling her parents to give her Calpol for a viral infection.
The little girl was suffering from blood poisoning and died the next day.
A year earlier Colin Perriam, 66, died after Dr Abdul-Salam analysed six-month old blood samples at the University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, then wrongly diagnosed a ruptured ulcer as constipation.
The medic was suspended for just four months in March 2010 then allowed to return to work under a raft of conditions and has been subject to conditional registration ever since.
Baby Aleesha’s family were outraged by the decision and launched a campaign to have the doctor struck off.
A statement at the time said: “We will never extend our forgiveness, as we will forever hold you responsible for Aleesha’s death at the tender age of just nine months old.
“We are calling on you to give up your career, not your life.”
But she was allowed to continue her career in August 2010 under supervision at Ipswich Hospital, Suffolk, where she still works as a medium grade doctor in the AE department.
Last October a panel flagged up a number of clinical errors made while she was working at the Ipswich Hospital but ruled she presented ‘no undue risk to patients.’
At a review hearing into the conditions on her registration at the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service in Manchester the panel was told of two more blunders over the past eight months.
One man suffered an accidental overdose of the painkiller Oramorph after Dr Abdul-Salam doubled his daily dose then sent him home without further advice, the hearing was told.
He was rushed to hospital by ambulance three days later after he was found ‘unrousable’ with signs of respiratory depression.
Giving evidence the medic described the incident as “a small error with potentially big consequences”.
“I now realise the advice to increase his frequency of Oramorph was not the best thing to give him at the time,” she added.
“I assumed he was already told of possible side effects of taking Oramorph long term and the fact he has the leaflets that go with medication.
“It is my mistake that I assumed that. I should have reiterated the serious side effects that could result.”
The most recent incident happened just two months ago in May when an 89-year-old woman was taken to hospital the day after a fall in her garden.
Dr Abdul-Salam discharged the patient and told her to take painkillers, but her injury was later found to be a fractured neck.
“It was an error of my judgement to discharge the her without at least considering trauma orthopaedic assessment in this patient before I discharged,” said Dr Abdul-Salam.
“I made an error in judgement in that case not requesting other specialist assessment or further management. Hopefully I will not be doing the same.”
Her consultant supervisor, Dr David Hartin, told the panel he employed the doctor as the “lesser risk” than leaving the AE department short-staffed.
Dr Hartin told the hearing that Dr Abdul-Salam did not make a greater number or more serious errors than any other doctor of a similar grade and experience in his department.
“I don’t believe Dr Abdul-Salam poses a more significant risk to public safety than other emergency department doctors with a similar experience level,” he said.
Baby Aleesha was rushed to the Royal Gwent Hospital with vomiting, a rash and a temperature of 37C in 2006.
Dr Abdul-Salam, then a trainee specialist registrar, did not even examine the baby and discharged her two hours later after noting her condition was ‘unremarkable.’
But the baby’s temperature had risen to 39C and she died the next day from meningococcal septicaemia.
Dr Abdul-Salam was placed under supervision at the Princess of Wales Hospital in Bridgend after Aleesha’s death.
She was only allowed to perform three hours of clinical work a day and had to sign every patient off with a supervisor.
But within three weeks Abdul-Salam had broken the terms of her training and more than a third of her patients had been discharged without her superior’s consent.
She was sacked from her post in Bridgend but returned to work as a staff grade doctor at the Kent Sussex Hospital in Tunbridge Wells before her employment was terminated because of the publicity surrounding her case.
Mr Perriam had died after Abdul-Salam analysed six-month old blood samples, then wrongly diagnosed a ruptured ulcer as constipation.
The pensioner was discharged from Cardiff’s University Hospital of Wales on December 15, 2004 with a prescription of laxatives.
Mr Parriam underwent emergency surgery but never recovered and died the next day on February 5, 2005.
A month earlier, Abdul-Salam gave a 79-year-old woman an unnecessary chest drain after reading the wrong x-ray.
She had to apologise after the elderly woman’s lung collapsed.
The hearing continues.