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Medical Council

Cork GP advertised herself as gynaecologist without any authorisation, inquiry hears

The hearing was adjourned and resumes tomorroow.

A CORK-BASED doctor advertised herself as gynaecologist despite having no authorisation from Irish medical authorities and prescribed an oral contraceptive to two older, high-risk patients against recommended medical practice, an inquiry has heard.

Dorota Sanocka, who practices at Our Clinic Sanocka based at Clogheen Business Park, Co Cork appeared before a hearing of the Irish Medical Council (IMC) today to face four allegations of professional misconduct and poor professional performance relating to her care of the two patients.

The IMC’s fitness-to-practise committee heard concerns about Dr Sanocka were raised by two doctors from the Owenabue Medical Centre in Carrigaline, Co Cork where the two patients normally attend.

Dr Sanocka, a Polish national who qualified as a doctor in 1987, has been certified since October 2012 to practise in Ireland where she operated a clinic at Woodfield, Station Road, Blarney, Cork until last year.

The inquiry heard that Dr Sanocka prescribed Yasmin, an oral contraceptive containing both oestrogen and progesterone, to a 47-year-old woman known as Patient A with high blood pressure who was also a smoker on March 31, 2016.

She is also accused of prescribing Yasmin to treat an ovarian cyst in a 60-year-old woman, known as Patient B, who suffered from hypertension and high cholesterol on November 23, 2015 and a separate allegation of failing to refer the woman for further investigation of an ovarian mass.

The final allegation relates to claims by Dr Sanocka posted on her clinic’s website on or around March 22, 2017 that she was a highly regarded specialist in gynaecology, obstetrics and andrology when she was not listed on the IMC’s register to conduct specialist medicine.

Counsel for the IMC, Elaine Finneran, said the allegations of professional misconduct if proven, would constitute actions that doctors of experience, competence and repute would regard as “disgraceful or dishonourable” and conduct which fell seriously short of the standards expected of doctors.

If proven, Ms Finneran said the allegations would also represent a failure to meet the standards of competence that would reasonably be expected of a qualified doctor.

Given her medical history, Patient A’s family doctor, Eimear McCarthy said she was “surprised and concerned” for the woman’s welfare after hearing she had been prescribed Yasmin by Dr Sanocka.

Dr McCarthy said she advised Patient A to stop taking the medicine due to the fact that she was over 35 and a smoker which placed her at an increased risk of blood clots and higher blood pressure.

Patient A told the inquiry that she had gone to see Dr Sanocka without a referral as she had been concerned that she had been bleeding for a few days and she “wanted to see a gynaecologist”.

The woman said she had heard about Dr Sanocka from friends.

At her second visit, Patient A said she felt attending Dr Sanocka had been “a waste of time and money” after they had a disagreement about what she had been diagnosed with during her first visit.

Under cross-examination by Dr Sanocka, however, the patient admitted she might have been confused about medical terms.

Dr McCarthy also clashed with Dr Sanocka about the uses and benefits of different medicines.

Dr McCarthy said she had not tried to ring Dr Sanocka because another colleague, who was one of three GPs who were concerned about a pattern of prescribing by Dr Sanocka, had attempted to contact her but did not get any response.

Her practice colleague, Caroline Wallace, outlined how she was unhappy at being asked by Patient B to transcribe a prescription for Yasmin as it was “inappropriate for someone over 50”.

Dr Wallace said Yasmin was not the right choice of treatment for cysts in post-menopausal women.

Under cross-examination, Dr Wallace said she was not aware that Patient B had been suffering from abdominal pain for a long term and had undergone complicated surgery.

Dr Sanocka claimed she had prescribed the oral contraceptive as a treatment for the patient’s ovarian cysts as an alternative to invasive surgery.

Responding to allegations that she had no registration which would allow her to claim she was a specialist in several disciplines including gynaecology, Dr Sanocka said she had been unable to register in Ireland as a consultant because of changes in the Polish medical register system.

She said she had a degree and diploma in gynaecology and was the author of many publications used for the training of doctors in Poland.

The hearing was adjourned and resumes tomorrow.

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Author
Seán McCárthaigh