'Tiredness' & 'human error' led to wrong procedure, consultant tells medical inquiry
The consultant at the centre of the Medical Council inquiry into the wrong operation being performed on a two and a half year old girl, has said "human error" and being "quite tired" led to him writing down the wrong procedure in the medical records.Professor Martin Corbally also said that Crumlin Hospital was inadequately staffed with paediatric surgeons.
Giving evidence via video link from Bahrain, Mr Corbally said in 2005 it had two full-time surgeons and two part-time. In Belfast, there were six paediatric surgeons.
The girl, known as Patient X, had a Tongue-tie operation instead of an operation to release an upper lip frenulum in April 2010.
Prof Corbally, who was then consultant paediatric surgeon at Our Lady's Children's Hospital, Dublin, said the proper course of action in this case should have been for the surgeon who did the procedure to call a halt to the operation if concerns had been raised.
He said the protocol for a "surgical pause" should have been activated.
Earlier, an independent medical expert told the inquiry that it was poor professional performance for a surgeon to incorrectly label a planned operation.
On the second day of the inquiry, Hugh Grant, consultant paediatric surgeon from Edinburgh said the hospital process compounded the problem.
He was giving evidence during the inquiry into allegations of poor professional performance against Prof Corbally.
Mr Grant said the procedure was wrongly labelled by the consultant and also the hospital computer system only allowed one code for a number of possible types of the procedure.
Mr Grant said he had no doubt Prof Corbally knew the operation he wished to perform and he could perform it.
But he told the inquiry the wrong diagnosis was written down.
Eileen Barrington, senior counsel for Prof Corbally, told the inquiry her client will say that consultants at Crumlin are not able to see each patient on the morning of the operation.
She also said that administrative staff at the hospital erroneously listed the operation as a 'Tongue tie'.