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Consultant who carried out unauthorised research loses challenge over dismissal


A consultant at St Luke’s Hospital in Kilkenny who carried out unauthorised research on five female patients during routine gynaecological procedures has failed in a High Court challenge to prevent his dismissal by the HSE.

Consultant gynaecologist Ray O’Sullivan claimed a decision by the HSE’s chief executive, Paul Reid, on December 23rd, 2019 to recommend his dismissal was “fatally flawed” for reasons including a failure to allow him the opportunity to comment on an expert’s report into his professional performance.

The hospital began an investigation after nursing staff expressed concern about the risk of infection from a procedure carried out on five patients on September 4th and 5th, 2018 under the direction of Prof O’Sullivan.

A catheter and small pressure pad was placed, without their consent and without seeking approval from the hospital’s ethics committee, inside the vagina of five patients who were having a hysteroscopy.

This was done as part of a feasibility study designed to see if certain procedures could be carried out without the use of a speculum (a device commonly used in vaginal exams) .

The court heard the five patients, who were tested for infection including HIV, were greatly shocked and upset when St Luke’s informed them about what happened at open disclosure meetings.

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Source: The Irish Times, 27 April 2021

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