Doctor suspended after changing notes following patient’s death

Flagg Court Medical Centre
Flagg Court Medical Centre

A South Tyneside GP has been suspended for a year for falsifying notes on a patient who died days after he gave her an incorrect diagnosis.

Dr Fardeen Haque added information to his record three times after the woman’s death on March 5, 2013, without referencing the fact.

Although he later admitted doing so, a medical tribunal has now ruled parts of his amendments were inaccurate – and some done dishonestly.

It found they did not fully reflect the consultation – and that Dr Haque, who practiced at Flagg Court Health Centre, South Shields, knew that was the case.

The Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) panel brought disciplinary proceedings following the death of the woman, referred to as Patient A.

In its judgement, it said: “The tribunal has determined that it is necessary to suspend your registration immediately.

“In light of the seriousness of its findings regarding your misconduct, the tribunal considered that it was necessary to confirm its decision at the sanction stage by making the order immediate.

“It has determined that it would be inappropriate for you to resume unrestricted practice before you have reflected on and gained further insight into your dishonesty.”

The MPTS heard the woman visited Dr Haque on Friday, March 1, 2013, concerned she had a potentially fatal blood clot.

The GP diagnosed Baker’s cyst - a swelling at the back of the knee - but she mentioned the possibility of a clot on the way out of the surgery and he re-examined her immediately.

He also made an appointment for her to undergo an X-ray to investigate possible osteoarthritis.

In fact, she was suffering from deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and died after suffering a fit four days later.

The MPTS found that on March 6 Dr Haque added facts into the record which were not in themselves misleading of the consultation.

However, it found it was misleading of him to have done so without any indication that they were not contemporaneous.

In the second amend, on June 4, Dr Haque added in that the woman had swelling around the ankle.

The tribunal ruled that this had been noted in his examination and was not misleading information.

But the panel again concluded it was misleading for him to have done so without any indication the record had been altered retrospectively.

For the third and final change, on June 5, it was found that two of three amends made that day were inaccurate and made dishonestly.

The tribunal added: “Some of your evidence was so vague that the tribunal had difficulties in accepting that it was credible or reliable, and it formed the view that, on occasion, your apparent memory loss was selective.

Following the woman’s death, Dr Haque was investigated by the police for gross negligence manslaughter and attempting to pervert the course of justice.

He was charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice but was acquitted at crown court.

The panel conceded Dr Haque accepted responsibility for the woman’s death and that changes had since been made at his practice.

It also said he was “a good, skilful and charitable doctor”.