Indian-origin doctor found guilty of misconduct in Britain


London : An Indian-origin doctor who ignored a cancer patient’s symptoms for six years has been found guilty of serious misconduct, an official said.

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The doctor, Navin Shankar, dismissed Nicola Sams’s irregular bleeding and abdominal pains as “nothing to worry about”.

The 26-year-old died of cervical cancer that had spread to her spine, neck and arms and left her unable to walk or move her hands, the Daily Mail reported Tuesday.

The General Medical Council (GMC) declared Shankar unfit to practise without restrictions after failing a series of knowledge and skills tests.

“The concerns raised by your actions are multiple and wide-ranging. The panel therefore determined that your actions amounted to misconduct and that it is serious,” GMC chairman Surendra Kumar was quoted as saying.

Shankar got an “unacceptable” rating in many simulated and knowledge tests before the hearing.

Sams had fractured her neck in a car accident and it was only then that the extent of the disease was discovered. She underwent an emergency hysterectomy in May 2006 but died a year later.

In a letter to the GMC, Sams said: “Nothing positive came from my numerous meetings with Dr Shankar. I was generally cut off by him and he would tell me `There’s nothing to worry about young lady’. I begged him, please can I be sent to the hospital to have a camera put inside me.”

Shankar told Sams there was nothing to be concerned about whenever she visited him between 1999 and 2005 at the Wigmore Lane Health Centre in Luton.

Sams went on: “I have an occurrence of cancer half way up my spine, at the base of my neck, an occurrence of cancer in my lung.”

“I have pains in my hands which don’t function. This means it is cervical cancer which has spread because my original condition was not diagnosed early enough.”

Her distraught father Mike Sams told the GMC hearing: “There was absolutely no progress made. The thing that was said every time was there was nothing to worry about and a different diagnosis came back.”

After the hysterectomy, Sams told her father to “make sure he (Shankar) does not do this again”.

She died Aug 14, 2007.

Months before her accident, Sams had registered with another doctor as Shankar was banned from his practice for another incident of malpractice.

He was found guilty of misconduct after he sent an infant home in September 2003 despite the fact that his foot had turned blue and was cold to the touch.

The child had a life-threatening blood clot. The baby became so ill he lost almost a third of his body weight and his toes became gangrenous.

The media report said that at Monday’s hearing, Shankar, was found guilty of 10 of the 11 charges relating to his treatment of Sams.

He was found guilty of failing to record her symptoms, not carrying out an abdominal examination, not maintaining adequate-records and his failure to refer her to a hospital.