‘Groping doctor’ accused of patient blunders

Dr Kiran Patwardhan, an intensive care consultant at the Sick Kids hospital. Picture: Cate Gillon
Dr Kiran Patwardhan, an intensive care consultant at the Sick Kids hospital. Picture: Cate Gillon
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A SENIOR children’s doctor accused of behaving like he was “in a Carry On film” by a nurse he groped is once again in hot water with health authorities.

Dr Kiran Patwardhan, an intensive care consultant at the Sick Kids hospital, was warned about his conduct in 2006 after a ward sister said he had touched her bottom and “brushed” her breast with his hand before saying “Ooh that was nice” in 2004.

Despite his conduct, which was found to be sexually motivated and was described as “unacceptable” following a General Medical Council (GMC) hearing, Dr Patwardhan landed the lucrative post with NHS Lothian in 2009.

We can reveal that he is set to find himself before the medical panel watchdog once again, after he allegedly made a series of blunders while treating patients, failed to have sufficient regard to the views expressed by nurses with regard to patient care and offered inaccurate, or incomplete, information to investigators. A series of interim conditions of practice have been placed on the specialist, who is believed to be 49.

They include his close supervision by a doctor of consultant level and a ruling he tells the General Medical Council if he takes up a new job.

Senior MSP and Conservative health spokesman Jackson Carlaw said the earlier warning against Dr Patwardhan should have raised alarm bells.

He said: “Presumably NHS Lothian was well aware of this man’s chequered past when they considered him for the job in 2009.

“If they were, serious questions now have to be answered as to why this decision was reached.

“Patients do not understand when senior medics are apparently given the kind of blind-eye treatment they themselves wouldn’t experience in their places of work.”

In the latest allegations, which will be put to the doctor at the end of this month, it is alleged that his approach to changing an endotracheal tube, which is put down a patient’s throat, “lacked adequate structure in a number of respects”.

His approach and leadership during reinsertion of a tube to another patient is also said to have lacked structure.

Dr Patwardhan also faces an accusation that he failed to adequately monitor and assess a patient during a transfer to another hospital and failed to appreciate issues with a throat tube.

He is then said to have given investigators inaccurate, or incomplete, information about levels of oxygen to be expected in a patient and did not have sufficient regard for the views of nurses on two occasions.

Dr David Farquharson, NHS Lothian’s medical director, said: “Dr Patwardhan has been an employee of NHS Lothian since 2009.

“It would be inappropriate to comment further until the GMC process has concluded.”

When he was given the earlier official warning following the incident with the nurse, Dr Patwardhan had been working as a consultant at James Cook Hospital in Middlesbrough.

The case was likened to something from one of the saucy Carry On series of films. After being called in to hospital late at night in October 2004 to examine a patient, he stood next to a nurse and touched her bottom, which he claimed was a response to a risqué remark she had made.

The following month the pair were looking at a medical catalogue when the doctor’s hand “brushed” the nurse’s breast. He then told her “Ooh that was nice,” according to the nurse and later apologised with a card and chocolates.

The paediatrician told the hearing that “innuendo” and “black humour” were common in the intensive care unit they worked in. At the time, Fitness to Practise Panel chair Ralph Bergmann warned the doctor his behaviour was “unacceptable” and “must not happen again”. He said: “The panel does not accept that deliberate physical contact, such as the touching of a colleague’s bottom or breast, can ever be acceptable in the context of a professional relationship.”

The doctor was unavailable for comment last night.