A paediatrician has been struck off for falsely diagnosing children with cancer to scare their parents into paying for expensive private treatment.
Dr Mina Chowdhury, 45, caused "undue alarm" to the parents of three young patients - one aged 15 months - by making the "unjustified" diagnoses so his company could cash in by arranging tests and scans, a medical tribunal found.
Chowdhury, who worked as a full-time consultant in paediatrics and neonatology at NHS Forth Valley, provided private treatment at his Meras Healthcare clinic in Glasgow. But the clinic made losses, despite "significant" potential income from third-party investigations and referrals for treatment – with patients charged a mark up fee of up to three times the actual cost. In all three cases, Chowdhury gave a false cancer diagnosis, without proper investigation, before recommending “unnecessary and expensive” private tests and treatment in London.
Parents previously told the tribunal of their shock and upset at receiving Chowdhury’s diagnoses during consultations between March and August 2017. He told the parents of a 15-month-old girl - known as Patient C - that a lump attached to the bone in her leg was a "soft tissue sarcoma" and a second lump had developed. Chowdhury urged them to see a doctor in London who could arrange an ultrasound scan, a MRI scan and biopsy in a couple of days, saying: "If things are happening it is best to get on top of them early." He also warned that it would be "confusing" to return to the NHS for treatment. But the parents spoke to an A&E doctor and an ultrasound scan revealed that the lumps were likely fat necrosis.
Patient C later was discharged after her bloods tests came back as normal. The child’s mother told the tribunal that she and her husband had been "very upset" at Chowdhury’s diagnosis. She was also left "angry" after she later read Dr Chowdhury’s consultation notes and realised they were a "total falsification" of what was discussed.
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Source: Medscape, 18 July 2022