Blinded patient ‘humiliated’ by doctor’s lecture

Lisa McIntosh says she was easily identifiable as the subject of a lecture given by Geoffrey Wood
Lisa McIntosh says she was easily identifiable as the subject of a lecture given by Geoffrey Wood
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A WOMAN blinded in one eye following a dental operation says she has been left “humiliated” after a consultant used her medical records without her permission to highlight her unique case in a public lecture.

Lisa McIntosh, 44, also suffered partial paralysis of the right side of her face and impaired hearing in her right ear following the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) operation at St John’s Hospital in 2003.

As part of her subsequent bid to sue the surgeon responsible, her lawyers, Anderson Strathern Solicitors, hired consultant Geoffrey Wood to write a medical report to help her case.

But it later emerged that Mr Wood used the information from her medical records during a lecture in Glasgow in 2007.

Ms McIntosh, a complimentary health practitioner, complained to the General Medical Council, General Dental Council and the British Medical Association about Mr Wood but has now been told that no action will be taken against him. Ms McIntosh, from Haddington, said: “I feel incredibly angry and humiliated.

“I have contacted all the regulatory bodies because he had contravened all the regulations, but not one of them have said they will take any action.

“I just feel completely let down by the medical profession.

“For someone as eminent as him to be able to do this and not be reprimanded is despicable.”

The fact that Mr Wood, based at the BUPA Spire Murrayfield Hospital in Wirral, was using Ms McIntosh’s ordeal as a case study was discovered by a solicitor from her legal team who attended the Glasgow lecture and recognised the case.

Although not named by Mr Wood during the lecture, Ms McIntosh says the disabilities resulting from the TMJ surgery were unique, so her case was instantly recognisable. She said: “[Mr Wood] was employed by my solicitors and was therefore sent my medical records and from that he took his own copies and went on to lecture with them without consent.

“He is being paid to give lectures so he is gaining out of it personally and financially.”

Anderson Strathern wrote to Mr Wood following the lecture to say he did not have Ms McIntosh’s permission to use her information and risked legal action if he continued to do so.

Mr Wood said: “My duty is to take matters of patient confidentiality very seriously.

“I comply with the letter of the law and would not normally disclose a patient’s clinical information without their consent.

“The Information Commissioner’s Office has concluded that . . . I acted in accordance with the Data Protection Act when handling Ms McIntosh’s information.”

A spokeswoman for the General Dental Council, which investigated Ms McIntosh’s complaint, said: “The fact that the GDC decided not to proceed with the complaint does not indicate that it condones the actions of the registrant concerned.

“The GDC is sorry that this is not the outcome that Ms McIntosh desired and has written to her directly to explain in more detail the panel’s decision.”