Doctor admits misleading over Ebola

Dr Hannah RyanImage copyright
Megan Bramall

A doctor has admitted she misled other medics about the health of a colleague returning to the UK from West Africa with Ebola in 2014.

Dr Hannah Ryan told a disciplinary hearing she had been in a state of “disbelief, fear and panic” after finding out nurse Pauline Cafferkey had had a high temperature, a warning sign.

Instead of alerting public health officials at Heathrow Airport, both continued on their journey home.

Dr Ryan denies misconduct.

Seriously ill

Dr Ryan and Ms Cafferkey had been working in Sierra Leone with other volunteers to help treat Ebola victims.

And on 28 December they had landed at Heathrow, “keen” to be home for the Christmas holiday period, the tribunal heard.

They queued to get clearance from Public Health England medics to be allowed to leave.

Trying to help PHE staff with the process, they agreed to take and record their own temperatures.

Image copyright
Reuters

Image caption

Pauline Cafferkey recovered from Ebola but has since had various health complications

Dr Ryan had then taken Ms Cafferkey’s temperature and got a reading of 38.2C – higher than normal.

But a lower temperature, 37.2C, was actually recorded, and Ms Cafferkey was then allowed to catch her connecting flight to Glasgow to go home.

She fell seriously ill the next day and tested positive for Ebola.

Dr Ryan has admitted misleading others and that she “acquiesced” in the wrong temperature being given, but denies misconduct by her actions at the airport and during a subsequent investigation by Public Health England.

The tribunal was adjourned until tomorrow morning.

Image copyright
Yui Mok/PA Wire

Image caption

Donna Wood arrived back in the UK on the same flight as Ebola survivor Pauline Cafferkey

In September 2016, the Nursing and Midwifery Council cleared Ms Cafferkey of misconduct over claims she had hidden her infection, after a panel ruled that her judgement had been impaired by her illness.

In November, another colleague, senior nurse Donna Woods, was suspended by the NMC for two months. The panel found Mrs Wood suggested a lower temperature be recorded on Ms Cafferkey’s screening form so they could pass through checks at passport control more quickly.

Doctor admits misleading over Ebola

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