Doctor convicted over six-year-old’s death appeals against struck-off ruling

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A doctor found guilty of gross negligence manslaughter over the death of a six-year-old boy is challenging a ruling that she should be struck off.

The move by Hadiza Bawa-Garba is being heard by three Court of Appeal judges in London on Wednesday.

She is fighting a decision made in January by two High Court judges.

Their ruling followed a successful appeal by the General Medical Council (GMC) against a decision of the Medical Practitioners Tribunal to impose a sanction of 12 months’ suspension on Dr Bawa-Garba.

The GMC had asked the High Court to quash that decision – and give a direction of erasure from the medical register – arguing it was “not sufficient” to protect the public or maintain public confidence in the medical profession.

Jack Adcock, from Glen Parva, Leicestershire – who had Down’s Syndrome and a known heart condition, died at Leicester Royal Infirmary in 2011 after he developed sepsis.

After a 2015 trial at Nottingham Crown Court, Dr Bawa-Garba was sentenced to two years in prison suspended for two years.

During the trial, the prosecution said Jack died after a series of failings by medical staff, including Dr Bawa-Garba’s “failure to discharge her duty” as the responsible doctor.

Sentencing, Mr Justice Nicol said that neither Dr Bawa-Garba or a nurse who was on duty at the time “gave Jack the priority which this very sick boy deserved”.

Lord Justice Gross, sitting with Mr Justice Ouseley, said when allowing the GMC’s High Court appeal: “Notwithstanding the system failures and the failures of others, the jury convicted Dr Bawa-Garba of manslaughter by gross negligence.

“It necessarily follows that her failings on that day were ‘truly exceptionally bad’.”

That reality “was not properly reflected or respected” in the tribunal’s decision.

Dr Bawa-Garba’s challenge will be heard by the Lord Chief Justice Lord Burnett, Master of the Rolls Sir Terence Etherton and Lady Justice Rafferty.

Members of the medical profession are expected to hold a vigil outside the Royal Courts of Justice in support of her appeal.

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