London, May 26: An Indian doctor, who failed to carry out proper checks on an otherwise healthy 37-year-old mother who died after coming to hospital with a kidney infection, has been suspended from his duties in Bradford and sent to prison for two years.
The judge said it was extremely rare for a doctor to be convicted of gross negligence manslaughter.
Sudhanshu Garg, 44, a consultant urologist who got his MBBS from the University of Delhi in 1991 before coming to the UK, was today led out of the dock at Leeds Crown Court to begin his sentence.
All his post-qualification training was in the UK and he got his first consultant’s job in Bradford in 2006.
Indian doctors in the UK generally enjoy a good reputation but this is clearly an exception.
The court heard how Lisa Quinn died at Bradford Royal Infirmary on Monday August 25, 2008 — three days after she went into the accident and emergency department suffering from a kidney infection. She was admitted to hospital on a Friday and her condition deteriorated over the Bank Holiday weekend.
This case seems to stand up a common complaint that patients receive relatively inferior treatment at weekends when the most experienced doctors and medical staff are off duty.
Garg has admitted gross negligence manslaughter. He has not helped his own cause by trying to falsify the patient’s medical records in an attempt to get himself off the hook.
The case against him seems to be that he simply wasn’t up to his job and did not perform the routine checks he should have done. It may be that Garg was advised that by pleading guilty he would attract a more lenient sentence but the opposite seems to have happened.
Mr Justice Globe told Garg that he had no choice but to send him to prison.
“Your plea means that your breach of duty was causative of Lisa Quinn’s death and cumulatively it amounts to a disturbing picture of a failure to take action,” the judge commented.
He said that if Garg had performed his duties correctly “the overwhelming probability is that she could have survived”.
The court heard how Quinn was not given a crucial ultrasound scan until two days after she arrived at the hospital and Garg missed vital opportunities to properly investigate what was developing into a life-threatening infection and blockage.
On the Sunday evening, Garg also missed a chance for Quinn to be transferred for emergency treatment. She eventually got the nephrostomy treatment she needed on the Monday evening but by then it was too late and she died shortly afterwards.
The judge described how Garg falsified Quinn’s medical records as “a blatant attempt to disguise and conceal evidence of your failures”.
Mark Ellison QC, defending, told the court that Garg was now a “broken man”.
Quinn’s children — Reece Conroy, now 16, and Rachel Conroy, 14 — said in a statement: “We both miss our wonderful and loving mum every single day. We adored her and she adored us. She was always there for us and used to have us in stitches with her funny jokes and stories. She was caring and thoughtful and a mum in a million.”