A locum doctor who botched critical operations for cancer patients in Belfast almost made another serious blunder at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital, a tribunal has heard.
Dr Alem Kahsay was only stopped from mistakenly prescribing a potentially fatal dose of medication to a woman at the RSH when a vigilant colleague noticed an error in paperwork and intervened, the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service was told.
It happened during Dr Kahsay’s 11-day spell working for Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust as a locum consultant in November 2010.
Dr Kahsay was yesterday struck off after being found guilty of serious misconduct at a hearing in Manchester over failings in his treatment of five cancer patients. The tribunal ruled his “carelessness” dramatically reduced his patients’ chance of survival.
The hearing was told one serious error almost occurred with a female patient in Shropshire in 2010. Dr Kahsay had correctly decided to reduce his patient’s chemotherapy dosage, but failed to alter the dose on the prescription, it was alleged.
The woman was suffering from symptoms associated with the toxic effects of chemotherapy and she could have “succumbed” if given another high dose, the hearing heard.
But a cancer nurse realised the prescription had not been changed and ensured the patient did not undergo the treatment.
It was the last in a series of mistakes made by the doctor that came to light during the hearing. Dr Kahsay was employed by Belfast Health and Social Care Trust as a locum consultant in clinical oncology between September 1 and November 28 2008 and August 17 and October 16 2009 where concerns were raised about his treatment of several patients.
One man’s chances of dying from the disease rose from 20 per cent to 90 per cent after the oncologist administered radiotherapy to the incorrect area of his body.
Another man in his 80s, known as “Patient C”, died after treatment for his bowel cancer did not cover the correct tissue containing the tumour.
The medic made a similar mistake when treating a patient’s prostate cancer, cutting his chance of life from 60 to 10 per cent.
Two more patients were saved from blunders when colleagues spotted his mistakes.
Ian Spafford, chairman of the panel, said: “The panel has determined that Dr Kahsay’s misconduct is fundamentally incompatible with his continuing to practise medicine.”
Dr Kahsay was not present or represented at the hearing.