South East Wales

GMC places restrictions on doctor deemed 'impaired'

A doctor suspended after two patients died in her care in south Wales will be allowed to continue to practise.

The General Medical Council (GMC) said Dr Salawati Abdul-Salam's fitness to practise medicine remains "impaired".

She was suspended in March after she misdiagnosed baby Aleesha Evans, of Newport, who died of blood poisoning after being discharged.

Dr Abdul-Salam can now only practise if she adheres to a raft of conditions and must be reassessed within 15 months.

The ruling was announced following a two-day hearing which concluded in London on Friday.

At the earlier disciplinary hearing in March Dr Abdul-Salam admitted making errors with four patients in her care and said she was "sorry" for her actions.

The GMC issued a report on the case and panel chairman Professor Denis McDevitt said her actions showed a "serious degree of carelessness" and that she had a "disregard" for patient safety.

The panel was told that in 2006, nine-month-old Aleesha Evans was taken to the Royal Gwent Hospital, Newport, with vomiting, a rash and a temperature of 37C.

Dr Abdul-Salam, a trainee specialist registrar, had sent Aleesha home saying she had a viral infection that needed only Calpol and Nurofen.

But the baby's temperature had risen to 39C and in fact she was suffering from meningococcal septicaemia. She died the following day.

Dr Abdul-Salam was placed under supervision but broke the terms imposed.

Image caption Aleesha Evans died from blood poisoning after being wrongly diagnosed

The hearing was also told how Colin Perriam, 66, died after Dr Abdul-Salam accidentally analysed six month old blood samples then wrongly diagnosed a ruptured ulcer as constipation.

Mr Perriam was discharged by her from the University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, on December 15, 2004 with a prescription of laxatives.

But the next day Mr Perriam fell unconscious and died following emergency surgery.

Following Friday's hearing, a spokeswoman for the GMC said: "The panel has reconvened and the chairman has announced the panel's decision that Dr Abdul-Salam's fitness to practise remains impaired by reason of her deficient professional performance."

The panel concluded that there remained "serious and unaddressed deficiencies" in Dr Abdul-Salam's clinical practice and opted to place her under supervision for 15 months.

Among the conditions imposed were that Dr Abdul-Salam has somebody within her new workplace reporting on her progress to the GMC and that she is supervised during her shifts by consultants.

She is also forbidden from working in private practice and most follow a personal development plan, specifically designed to address the deficiencies identified in her practice.

The report said: "The panel wishes to stress that it is your responsibility now to take action to improve your performance."

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