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Doctor: Gynaecology is "different" and requires more trust

The Medical Council is hearing evidence against a consultant from Galway.

Image: Gareth Chaney/Photocall Ireland!

A MEDICAL COUNCIL inquiry has been told that it was “remarkable” that a consultant obstetrician/gynaecologist would carry out a procedure that left a woman infertile.

The Medical Council was hearing evidence in the second day of a fitness to practice inquiry into Dr Declan Egan, a consultant obstetrician/gynaecologist at University Hospital Galway, who also runs a private fertility clinic.

The inquiry yesterday heard that a woman had presented to Dr Egan having suffered her third miscarriage.

The patient alleges that when Dr Egan was carrying out a clipping of her right fallopian tube, he also clipped her left one in a manner “not consistent with the consent form”.

Egan does not dispute that he had not consulted the patient, but argued that he had done so due to the presence of hydrosalipingis, which had blocked the right tube, in the left tube.

However, expert witness Professor Tony Smith from St Mary’s Hospital in Manchester told the inquiry today that not getting consent from a patient in this case breached the trust between patient and doctor.

He said that Dr Egan had exhibited a “total failure to consider the patient as an individual” and that the issue of consent was “critical” to trust.

He said that Dr Egan was in an “unfortunate position” having “only met the patient on the operating table” and that he had not been given all of the details.

However, he disagreed that there was enough medical evidence to proceed with the surgery.

Asked if he felt that the case constituted poor professional performance, Professor Smith said that gynaecology is “different” from other medical disciplines and requires a great deal of trust.

“I would expect a fertility expert to be sensitive to these things. The fact that Dr Egan was not is what makes this serious.”

Later, Dr Raj Mathur, a fertility expert from Manchester said that the evidence showed that the patient’s fallopian tube was possibly damaged, but not grossly so.

The inquiry will reconvene on 23 February.

Read: Woman claims doctor performed procedure that left her infertile without consent

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