9 May 2011

Hamilton GP accused of failing to diagnose cancer

10:03 pm on 9 May 2011

A medical expert has told a professional misconduct hearing that better treatment of a patient by a Hamilton doctor would have spared her unnecessary suffering.

The Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal has heard that the patient, a woman in her 60s, consulted Dr Suresh Vatsyayann 17 times but at no stage did he physically examine her. She died of liver cancer in October 2010.

Dr Vatsyayann is accused of failing to diagnose cancer in the woman over the 12 months to November 2008.

An expert witness, Dr Gerald Young, says he believes Dr Vatsyayann's failures were a serious departure from accepted professional standards.

He says the doctor missed the opportunity to diagnose the patient on numerous occasions and failed to deliver fundamental and elementary medical care.

An early diagnosis of the cancer might not have prevented the woman's death, Dr Young told the tribunal, but it would have saved her from experiencing unnecessary suffering, pain and stress.

Accused objects to tribunal's make-up

Dr Vatsyayann, who is defending himself, says 90% of liver cancers can't be diagnosed in the first stages.

He has objected to the charge being laid and to the make-up of the tribunal, and says the medical profession is collaborating against him.

This is the third charge of professional misconduct against him. He was struck off last month after being found guilty of allowing his untrained wife to perform medical procedures and claiming for patients that did not exist.