A GRAYS doctor who refused to attend to a dying pensioner outside his Grays surgery has received a formal warning by the General Medical Council (GMC).
On 21 November 2007 Dr S S Sidana was informed that a man had collapsed outside the surgery in which he was working.
He refused to attend to this patient despite repeated requests for help from members of the public.
He stated that he was unable to attend as he was attending to another patient at the time.
The man, John Sparks, 67, died at the scene despite frantic attempts by the public to revive him.
The GMC has told the doctor that: “This behaviour does not meet with the standards required of a doctor.
“It risks bringing the profession into disrepute and it must not be repeated.
“Paragraphs 11 and 57 of Good Medical Practice state: ‘In an emergency, wherever it arises, you must offer assistance, taking account of your own safety, your competence, and the availability of other options for care’.”
The Sparks family have expressed their dismay that the Doctor has not issued a personal apology to them.
A family spokesman said: “We are happy with the verdict. We never expected the doctor to go out and save our father. At the same time, although the PCT have expressed regret, we are disappointed that Dr Sidana has not personally expressed his regrets to us.”
A Spokesperson for South West Essex PCT said:
“We have personally expressed our deepest sympathy to the family involved in this incident and we are very sorry for their sad loss.
“The PCT asked for an independent investigation which was carried out in 2008. This resulted in a number of recommendations, including the requirement for all GP practices to have a protocol for handling emergencies, and associated training to carry this out.
“An internal review of the event was also carried out, which resulted in the installation of defibrillators at local GP practices including Dr Sidana’s surgery, as well as CPR training for all practice staff.
“The PCT has learnt lessons from this unfortunate and regrettable event and feels that sufficient steps have been taken to address the issue.”
This is an important ‘warning’ that has been issued by the GMC. After the event there was much confusion by professionals and public alike, as to what the Doctor should have done.
Many went down the route of backing the doctor on the basis of the litigious society dilemma while others strictly believed that under the hypocratic oath, he was morally bound to attend the scene.
The matter is now clear. What is also clear is that the actions of the general public restored a great deal of faith in the public’s ability and inclination to help a fellow human being in times of need.