Doctor cleared of wrong doing

A CASTLEBLAYNEY GP has been cleared by the Medical Council of an allegation of poor professional performance.

A CASTLEBLAYNEY GP has been cleared by the Medical Council of an allegation of poor professional performance.

Patrick Connolly, a 69-year-old man in the early stages of Parkinson’s disease, attended the surgery of Dr Michael J Clarke, who has a practice in Castleblayney, Co Monaghan, on February 25th, 2011, complaining of soreness in his chest and neck.

He died approximately 12 hours after attending the surgery, having suffered a cardiac arrest.

Mr Connolly was driven to Dr Clarke’s practice by his daughter Rosaleen Sweeney, the hearing was told. Ms Sweeney said that her father was distressed on the way to the surgery and was rubbing his chest and neck and “wasn’t himself”.

Dr Clarke questioned Mr Connolly before carrying out an examination of his chest. When Dr Clarke touched his chest the patient reported tenderness which the doctor referred to in his notes as left breast tenderness. Under questioning Dr Clarke said that this was consistent with a musculo-skeletal condition, and not something he determined to be of cardiac origin. Mr Connolly also complained of neck pain.

Dr Clarke advised Mr Connolly to take paracetamol for the pain and referred him to a neurologist in Beaumont Hospital.

Prof Tom O’Dowd, who also gave evidence at the inquiry, said given that the patient did not have a history of cardiac problems and was experiencing breast tenderness, that it had been reasonable for Dr Clarke to conclude that the pain was musculoskeletal in origin.

That evening Mr Connolly suffered a cardiac arrest and died.

A postmortem revealed Mr Connolly had suffered a heart attack seven to 10 days before he died.

The Medical Council found that the allegation against Dr Clarke was not proven and found that the examination carried out by Dr Clarke was adequate.