Doctor faces GMC panel over tragedy

Scan of Joanne Dowling''''MPMC WK M10
Scan of Joanne Dowling''''MPMC WK M10

A HOSPITAL doctor who withdrew life-saving medication for a young woman dying of meningitis could be declared unfit to practice, the Citizen can reveal.

Dr Christian Akubuine decided critically-ill Joanne Dowling did not need antibiotics when rushed to Milton Keynes General with suspected meningococcal septicaemia.

Hours later the 25-year-old died – after sending desperate text messages to her mum describing how the deadly rash was spreading across her body.

Joanne, born with cystic fibrosis, even took photographs on her phone of the tell-tale spots and forwarded those too.

Her only medication in her final hours had been headache pills and fluids after she was left in the hospital’s Clinical Decision Unit for overnight observation, an inquest heard last year.

Since Joanne’s death in November 2009, her parents Sue and Ivor have been fighting for the doctors involved in the alleged medical blunders to receive punishment. Now, exactly a year after their daughter’s inquest, the General Medical Council has announced Dr Akubuine will appear before its Fit to Practice panel.

The panel has the power to strike him off the medical register, suspend him from practice or place conditions upon his registration.

“It is a victory for us that it has got this far but there is still no guarantee about the outcome,” said Ivor, from Monkston. “Whatever happens, it won’t bring our daughter back. We still miss her every minute of every day and, as time goes on, it seems to get even harder.

“But we have to fight for the sake of other patients. If she had been given antibiotics she would have survived. The hospital failed her...The doctors and nurses were rude and arrogant. She was neglected.”

Joanne, who was on the waiting list for a heart and lung transplant to cure her cystic fibrosis, was referred to hospital by her GP. He gave her penicillin and wrote a letter diagnosing meningococcal septicaemia, even describing the purple rash that would not disappear when pressed with a glass.

She was given a CT scan and lumber puncture but the results came back negative, This was when Dr Akubuine ordered the antibiotics be stopped, the inquest heard.

Trainee doctor Vivake Roddah was put in charge of observing Joanne. He told the inquest he did not see the purple rash spreading on her hands, legs and arms and has since received an official reprimand,

In her final hours, Joanne sent 42 different text messages and photographs to her mum and best friend. ‘Rash is getting worse’, she texted.

A spokesman for Milton Keynes Hospital said: “We are aware of the GMC investigation and if any recommendations are made, we will act on them as appropriate.”