GP who did not spot tumour keeps job


A doctor who failed to spot a stomach tumour the size of a football in a young girl who later died is to be allowed to continue practising.

Dr Krishna Mohan Singh, 54, misdiagnosed the nine-year-old's deteriorating condition as dehydration - even telling her mother to stop being 'paranoid'.

The General Medical Council found him guilty of failing to conduct a proper examination or safeguard the child's best medical interests - but he escaped being struck off the medical register.

The child, referred to only as Miss A, was first taken to the surgery on December 2, 1998, complaining of a swollen stomach and constipation. A colleague of Dr Singh's prescribed laxatives.

But six days later she began passing blood and her mother took her back to the surgery at Heston, West London.

This time she was seen by Dr Singh who prescribed her dehydration salts to counteract the side effects of the laxatives. But he failed to carry out any examination, arrange further tests or consider a referral.

'My daughter had a lump on her stomach,' her mother told the hearing earlier this week. 'It was hard and bulging. I could see it. She had become lethargic. I was extremely concerned.

'But when I took her to see Dr Singh he said she was dehydrated. He told me to give her plenty of fluid and go away and stop being a paranoid mother.'

Over Christmas the girl became violently ill and by January 13, 1999, could barely stand. Her mother again took her to Dr Singh at his other surgery in Hounslow.

She told the GMC that after keeping them waiting for 40 minutes he simply undid the child's coat to examine her stomach.

The mother of three choked back tears as she said: 'I told him she was extremely unwell and I was very concerned and needed something done.'

She was taken to West Middlesex Hospital. But as she rapidly deteriorated she was transferred to Chelsea and Westminster Hospital where doctors said they believed she had cancer.

Consultant paediatric surgeon Munther Haddad said the lump measured about 10in when the girl arrived and had displaced her kidneys upwards.

Within four hours, it had swollen to measure 12in in diameter. The girl slipped into a coma later that evening and died from a heart attack and pelvic cancer.

Dr Singh, from Slough, Berkshire, claimed he was not told how ill she was feeling at the first appointment.

He denied the mother's claim that on one occasion he had refused to examine the child. The committee accepted his account that the second appointment did not take place and cleared him of that charge.

Committee chairman Professor Kenneth Hobbs said it had a duty to consider every case dispassionately and, however sad the outcome, that alone could not determine the sanction.

Doctor Singh was ordered to undergo assessment with particular reference to communication skills, history taking, patient examinations and record keeping.

He was also told to agree a programme of supervised personal development.

The committee will meet again in 12 months to consider whether to take further action.

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