A Nigerian doctor practising in the United Kingdom is banned for one year over the death three years ago of a boy twin. He is accused of killing the boy through negligence, writes Daily Mail
A newborn twin boy died because managers at an overstretched maternity unit failed to make proper checks on whether a bungling doctor was up to the job.
Dr Olufemi Dina was allowed to work only under the supervision of a consultant after being blamed for the death of a young mother following childbirth, and also after falsifying medical records.
But with a severe shortage of staff, managers at the unit where he had been working as a locum for three days allowed him to take charge of delivering Natalya Almond’s twin boys.
The first, Lien, was born safely, but his brother, Arron, was deprived of oxygen when his head got stuck for 20 minutes, and suffered severe brain damage.
Yet Dr Dina still placed him on his mother’s chest – only for her to see to her horror that he had turned grey and wasn’t breathing. Arron died after three weeks on a life support machine.
After a lengthy battle to learn the truth, Mrs Almond and her husband Neil, from Darwen, Lancashire, have now been awarded more than £50,000 after the hospital accepted Arron would probably have survived had he been delivered competently.
Dina, 49, who was found to have ‘communication problems’ because English is not his first language, was later banned from practising for lying to investigators. But the Almonds are furious that none of the staff who put him in charge of such a complicated birth have been disciplined.
‘You put your trust in these people and believe that they know best,’ said Mrs Almond, 27. ‘Now we know managers at the hospital knew he wasn’t competent enough to deliver my twins but simply left him to it.
‘We feel the people who let him work that night are partly responsible for what happened.’
In 2007 the Nigerian-born doctor, who specialises in obstetrics and gynaecology, was branded negligent by a High Court judge after sending home a new mother who complained of headaches with painkillers when she in fact had a fatal blood clot.
Then in 2008 he was accused of falsifying medical records and prescribing powerful drugs to a pregnant patient he had not seen while working as a locum in Manchester.
The General Medical Council ordered that he should work only under the supervision of a consultant.
In September 2010 he secured a locum post at Royal Blackburn Hospital. On the night Arron was born there were staff shortages and clinical director Mark Willetts let Dr Dina work unsupervised because the alternative was shutting the maternity unit.
Lien was delivered safely but Arron was deprived of oxygen when he became stuck. Three weeks later his parents were advised to turn off his life support machine.
In an initial report, the hospital claimed Arron’s death had been unavoidable, saying ‘no gaps in care were identified’.But after his angry parents discovered that Dr Dina should not have been practising unsupervised, Arron’s inquest was halted.
An independent medical expert concluded that ‘the outcome could have been significantly better’ had he been supervised by an experienced consultant, but the coroner recorded a verdict of accidental death.
Dr Dina was initially allowed to continue practising but after pressure from Arron’s parents there was a fresh investigation. The Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service banned him from practising for 12 months for lying that he had told the GMC about his Blackburn locum post. He has now lost an appeal.
Mr Almond, a 36-year-old plasterer, said: ‘His mistakes have now caused the deaths of a mother and a baby, but he could be able to work again next year – what does it take for a doctor to be struck off?’
East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust described Arron’s death as a ‘very sad incident’ and said ‘changes in practice have been put in place’. But it added: ‘The Trust has found no grounds for action against individual doctors.’
Dr Dina’s solicitors declined to comment.
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