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Dr Bawa-Garba was in a 'perfect storm', says supervisor ahead of appeal verdict

Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba was working in a ‘perfect storm’ on the day of six-year-old Jack Adcock’s death, her former clinical supervisor claims.

On BBC’s Panorama tonight, Dr Jonathan Cusack, Dr Bawa-Garba’s former supervisor and a consultant neonatologist at Leicester Royal Infirmary, will defend the junior doctor for missing signs of sepsis in the face of systemic pressures.

This comes as the verdict in her appeal against the controversial High Court case, which saw her struck off the medical register in January, is handed down later today.

Dr Bawa-Garba will also defend her own actions on the programme, saying she ‘didn’t recognise’ sepsis symptoms in six-year-old Jack Adcock.

She will say: ‘I went for what was more common in that age group which is gastroenteritis and I felt that it was a very bad case of it. I didn’t recognise sepsis, I didn’t think sepsis then, I wish I did.’

She will add that doctors should be held accountable ‘if a doctor was reckless or a doctor for example came to work drunk’.

But she will say: ‘That should be different from coming to work under difficult circumstances and making a clinical error.’

Dr Cusack will defend Dr Bawa-Garba, saying she ‘misdiagnosed sepsis and that’s really common, it’s really easy to misdiagnose sepsis’.

He will add: ‘Errors rarely occur in isolation… there were staffing issues, computer problems etc… perfect storm.’

This comes after James Laddie, the QC representing Dr Bawa-Garba, claimed at her appeal hearing in July that there were ‘systemic failings which contributed to the environment in which Dr Bawa-Garba came to make the mistakes which led us to this court’.

Dr Bawa-Garba had originally diagnosed Jack Adcock with gastroenteritis and failed to spot from blood tests that Jack was in shock, or review chest X-rays that indicated he had the chest infection.

Following the initial High Court ruling, which caused an uproar from the medical profession, the Government has announced its intention to strip the GMC of the power to appeal MPTS decisions. However the GMC has said it will continue until legislation changes.

Readers' comments (16)

  • "and failed to spot from blood tests that Jack was in shock, or review chest X-rays that indicated he had the chest infection." - is this correct? My understanding is that he was commenced on adequate fluids and the CXR was reviewed and antibiotics prescribed. I have re-read details of this case in great depth and I am still at a loss to identify where there was clinical negligence and certainly nothing to warrant a conviction of manslaughter. If I am being thick can somebody elucidate for me? BTW I am thrilled that this lovely doctor has won her appeal against the GMC ruling. She must now appeal against the manslaughter verdict and clear her name completely in what has been a terrible miscarriage of justice!!

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  • The argument that this doctor breached their duty of care to the patient given the facts of the case is ridiculous and is motivated in large part by racism, in large part also by the poor understanding and application of clinical negligence law in the UK by the justice system which is too trigger happy to find people guilty in witch hunt trials like the ones this poor woman has been subjected to. This doctors actions did NOT cause this patient’s death and she did NOT breach her duty of care. All arguments against her should have collapsed at the outset, as they would have done in all civilised countries.

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  • WELLL DONE Dr. BG! nurse Taylor was pardoned, nurse Amaro strucked / nothing happened to consultant; participants of the whole team were differently handled, what can explain this if it was to do with system failure, work load and lack of supervision ?

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  • Dr. Cusack opened my eyes here,''Dr Bawa-Garba reflected extensively on the clinical care she gave. Documents containing her reflective comments were seen by a prosecution QC prior to his extensive cross-examination and therefore fed into the criminal court process. The GMC have stated that reflective practice was not used, and have issued a factsheet for the profession.[4] However, the Medical Protection Society, which previously represented Dr Bawa-Garba, has admitted that it ‘may well be the case’ that reflections fed into the trial''

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  • The Guardian: Andrew Thomas QC, prosecuting, said: “Under their care, Jack’s condition needlessly declined to a point where, before he had been transferred to the next ward, he was effectively beyond the point of no return.

    cold peripheries, slow capillary relief time, breathlessness and cyanosis, lethargy and unresponsiveness [ on admission]

    He had perked up substantially. He was laughing and being playful.

    So, if he was unresponsive on admission and perked up to being playful, where is the ' needless decline' she was convicted for?

    If Jack did decline from unresponsiveness, he would be completely moribund, not ' bouncing about'
    Like Dr Dingle, this case is so completely crazy.'initial jury finding that Dr Bawa-Garba had been grossly negligent due to the obvious continuing deterioration in his condition'

    “When I reassessed Jack, I was falsely reassured because he was alert, drinking from a beaker, responding to voice, pushing his mask away because he didn't want it on his face.'

    So, where was the obvious continuing deterioration ?. Is this justice in the UK?

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  • I am like Dr Dingle. I find this beyond understanding.

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