Doctor admits Ebola ‘panic’
Tribunal: Medic concedes concealing temperature warning sign for virus
A doctor has admitted misleading other medics after the warning sign of a raised temperature for nurse Pauline Cafferkey was concealed hours before she fell seriously ill with the Ebola virus.
Dr Hannah Ryan took the temperature of the Scottish nurse as they waited to go through Ebola virus screening at Heathrow Airport on December 28, 2014, medical watchdogs heard.
They had been working in Sierra Leone with other “selfless” UK medics who had volunteered to help treat victims of the deadly virus which killed thousands in west Africa in 2014, a Medical Practitioners Tribunal was told.
But after flying home Dr Ryan took Ms Cafferkey’s temperature which was 38.2 centigrade – above the 37.5 centigrade threshold which is a warning sign for Ebola.
Dr Ryan was in a state of “disbelief, fear and panic” at the raised reading and instead of alerting Public Health England (PHE) medics at Heathrow screening groups returning from west Africa, a lower temperature was recorded of 37.2 – and Ms Cafferkey was eventually allowed to catch her connecting flight to Glasgow to go home.
She fell seriously ill the next day and tested positive for the Ebola virus.
Dr Ryan has admitted misleading others and “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.
Fraser Coxhill, representing the General Medical Council, told the tribunal that four days after the incident Dr Nick Gent from PHE called Dr Ryan to investigate what had happened at the airport, in reaction to Ms Cafferkey falling ill.
Dr Ryan later admitted not telling him she had taken Ms Cafferkey’s temperature and that it was above the threshold for possible Ebola infection.
Mr Coxhill said: “It is submitted that the events of December 28, 2014 and January 2, 2015 appear to demonstrate someone (Dr Ryan) whose first instinct is to mislead and be dishonest.”
The tribunal was adjourned until today.
Ms Cafferkey was cleared of misconduct charges last September.
NO FAULT: Ms Cafferkey was cleared of wrongdoing
Dr Hannah Ryan