Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba: Struck-off doctor can return to work

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The tribunal said it was “satisfied” Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba had reflected on the events that led to Jack Adcock’s death


A doctor convicted over the death of a six-year-old boy can return to work, a medical tribunal has ruled.

In 2015, Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba was found guilty of gross negligence manslaughter over the death of Jack Adcock.

She was struck off in 2018 but appealed against the decision and won her bid to be reinstated to the medical register.

The Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) has now ruled Dr Bawa-Garba can return to work, but only under close supervision.

The doctor will resume work – although at a lower grade than she was previously employed at – once she returns from maternity leave in February 2020.

Tribunal chairwoman Claire Sharp said the chance of Dr Bawa-Garba putting another patient at unwarranted risk of harm was low and she had undertaken a “significant” amount of remediation.

However, the tribunal found the doctor’s fitness to practise was “impaired” as she had not had face-to-face contact with patients since 2015.

Jack’s parents, Nicky and Victor, from Leicestershire, had opposed Dr Bawa-Garba being allowed to practise again.

Giving evidence at the hearing, the doctor apologised to the Adcock family.

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Adcock family

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Jack Adcock died at Leicester Royal Infirmary in 2011 when undiagnosed sepsis led to cardiac arrest

In 2011, Jack, who had Down’s syndrome and a heart condition, died from a cardiac arrest caused by sepsis 11 hours after being admitted to hospital.

Prosecutors in Dr Bawa Garba’s criminal trial said his death was caused by an incorrect diagnosis and “serious neglect” by staff.

Dr Bawa-Garba’s defence said she had worked a 12-hour shift with no break and there was miscommunication on the ward.

The doctor was removed from medical duties ahead of the trial. She was later given a two-year suspended sentence by the court.

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Media captionDr Hadiza Bawa-Garba said she was “sorry for her role” in Jack Adcock’s death

In 2017 the MPTS suspended her from the medical register for a year, but the General Medical Council appealed against the decision and in January 2018 she was struck off at the High Court.

Dr Bawa-Garba subsequently took her case to the Court of Appeal and in August won her bid to be reinstated.

She is currently serving a suspension until July but wants to return to work full-time in February.

Giving its determination, the MPTS said the doctor had “reflected appropriately” on the events of Jack’s death and had undertaken significant steps to remediate concerns identified in 2017.

A number of conditions were put in place on Dr Bawa-Garba’s registration, and will be in place for two years from July.

During the hearing, Dr Bawa-Garba said: “I am sorry for my failure to recognise sepsis.

“I apologise for the pain I have caused the family, the pain will live with me for the rest of my life.”

Sitting in the public gallery, Mrs Adcock interjected: “Eight years too late.”

Speaking after the tribunal, she added: “I don’t think she should ever be allowed in a hospital again.”

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Jack’s parents Victor and Nicky Adcock attended the tribunal

A GMC statement said the process had been “difficult” for the Adcock family.

It added: “‘The GMC and Dr Bawa-Garba’s representatives both submitted to the medical practitioners tribunal that her fitness to practise remains impaired due to the length of time she has been out of practice.

“It is important the doctor’s return to practise is safely managed.”

However, Jenny Vaughan, law and policy officer for the Doctors’ Association UK, said it was “right” that Dr Bawa-Garba would be allowed to return to work.

She said: “Dr Bawa-Garba was working in appalling conditions that day in an NHS hospital…there is a culture of blame in the NHS at the moment which, if left unchecked, will mean patient safety is not what it should be as staff will be too scared to admit their mistakes.”

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