Sick Kids doctor who put babies at risk keeps job

Dr Kiran Patwardhan is set to keep his job at the Sick Kids Hospital, Edinburgh, despite a series of 'potentially life-threatening' blunders. Picture: Rob McDougall
Dr Kiran Patwardhan is set to keep his job at the Sick Kids Hospital, Edinburgh, despite a series of 'potentially life-threatening' blunders. Picture: Rob McDougall
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A SENIOR children’s doctor who made a series of ‘potentially life-threatening’ blunders has been told he can keep his job in Edinburgh.

Dr Kiran Patwardhan admitted a series of errors relating to his treatment of three children while working at the Sick Kids hospital in the Capital.

A 15-month-old baby was ‘close to death’ when complications arose during a procedure to remove a breathing tube, the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service has heard.

Luckily a senior colleague was able to take charge of the situation and the child made a full recovery.

A two week-old baby also could have died during a transfer between Glasgow and Edinburgh due to mistakes made by Dr Patwardhan regarding a breathing tube, had an experienced nurse not taken control of the situation.

The consultant was previously likened to a doctor in a Carry On film during a 2006 disciplinary hearing after he groped a senior nurse at a James Cook University Hospital, in Middlesbrough.

Dr Patwardhan was let off with a warning after he was found guilty of sexually motivated behaviour when he touched the woman’s bottom and breasts.

The sister told the 2006 hearing Dr Patwardhan brushed her breast with his hand and then told her: ‘Ooh, that was nice.’

The medic was today made subject to 11 conditions by a fitness to practise panel in Manchester.

Chairman Professor Denis McDevitt said: “The panel considered that the greater sanction of suspension would not only be disproportionate but would not assist in the longer term protection of the public and public interest.”

Dr Patwardhan was criticised by the panel over his poor communication, inadequate leadership and unclear decision making.

Professor McDevitt told him: “The panel considers that your actions in all three of the incidents in 2011 put patients at risk and that, without your colleagues acting as they did, there could have been serious consequences.

“It has taken into account that you have been a consultant in paediatric intensive care for 13 years.”

He added: “The panel considers that there were serious failings in your management of all three patients, some of which were potentially life-threatening.

“It agrees with the two expert witnesses that, when looked at globally, your failings during these three incidents amounted to misconduct and that the misconduct was serious.”

David Morris, defending, told the hearing that Dr Patwardhan accepted his mistakes and had been working towards improving his skills.

The doctor’s senior manager and assistant medical director at the RHSC, Dr Edward Doyle, told the panel last week Dr Patwardhan would keep his job in Edinburgh if allowed to continue practising.

The conditions state that Dr Patwardhan must notify the GMC of any job he takes in or outside the UK and inform the regulator of any disciplinary proceedings against him.

He is restricted to working in the NHS in paediatrics or paediatric intensive care – the latter must be closely supervised by a named consultant.

The medic must also agree to the appointment of a mentor and workplace reporter approved by the GMC as well as informing any employer that he is subject to conditions.

The conditions will come into force in 28 days, subject to appeal, and the doctor will have to face a review hearing before the end of the period of conditional registration before he is allowed to work unrestricted.