Doctor is jailed over patient’s hospital death

Dr.Sudhanshu Garg. Picture: Ross Parry Agency
Dr.Sudhanshu Garg. Picture: Ross Parry Agency
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A LEADING Yorkshire hospital doctor has been jailed for two years after admitting gross negligence over the death of a mother- of-two – and later trying to cover up his failings.

Lisa Quinn, 37, died after three days of treatment for a kidney infection over a Bank Holiday weekend at Bradford Royal Infirmary.

Leeds Crown Court was told Sudhanshu Garg, 44, breached his duty of care in failing to investigate and recognise the severity of her illness which was life-threatening without emergency treatment.

Robert Smith QC, prosecuting, said Mrs Quinn had been correctly diagnosed with a kidney infection when she was seen in the hospital’s A&E on August 22, 2008.

But she suffered a series of failures in her care for which Garg, as the consultant urologist on call, was ultimately responsible and which led to her death.

“Had he discharged his duty to the patient, the overwhelming likelihood is that she would have survived,” he said.

Garg saw her 24 hours after she was admitted but failed to order a standard ultrasound scan. Her condition deteriorated but he only acted when scans were eventually carried out a day later, revealing she needed emergency care.

He said Garg could have ordered her transfer to Leeds for urgent treatment but chose not to despite a “rapidly developing and life-threatening” infection.

One nurse recalled Mrs Quinn “begging for someone to give her something because she knew she was going to die”.

The procedure was only carried out in Bradford the following day. Staff said she appeared “terrified” and had pleaded: “Please help me feel better.”

Three hours later, she collapsed and died.

In the following days, the consultant altered her medical notes in an attempt to cover up what had happened. When hospital management became suspicious, he denied any wrongdoing until eventually admitting he had tampered with the notes.

In police interviews, he blamed junior doctors and nurses for not keeping him informed about Mrs Quinn’s deterioration.

Mr Justice Globe QC said a custodial sentence was inevitable.

His breach of duty had caused Mrs Quinn’s death and was a “disturbing picture of a failure to taken action”. The falsification of clinical notes was a “blatant attempt to disguise and conceal evidence of your failures”.

Garg had been on call for more than a week but this did not excuse what had happened, he said.

Garg, of Cottingley, near Bradford, who trained in the UK after qualifying in India and was in his first consultant post, admitted gross negligence manslaughter earlier this year.

Mark Ellison QC, mitigating, said he was a “broken man” suffering from anxiety and depression, describing him as a “sad, gentle, withdrawn and dependent man”.

He said the infirmary’s urology department was “dysfunctional” and “felt under siege” from management, which left Garg “paranoid” about an inquiry into Mrs Quinn’s death.

Mrs Quinn’s mother Sandra Godfrey said the family had waited a long time for justice.

“Lisa was my eldest daughter and my best friend. She was feisty and outspoken but she always put others before herself,” she said.

“She had a personality that shone and was full of fun and lived life to the full. She was a wonderful mother, a special sister and I feel so blessed that I had such a loving and caring daughter in my life.”

In a statement, Mrs Quinn’s children Reece, 16, and Rachel, 14, said: “We both miss our wonderful and loving mum every single day. We adored her and she adored us. She was caring and thoughtful and a mum in a million.”

Charlotte Godfrey said: “My sister had a hard life bringing up two children on her own but she never lost her spirit. She was a remarkable woman with a heart of gold.”

Investigating officer Det Insp Richard Partis said: “Garg was clearly aware of the standard of treatment he had delivered and despite his position of trust, attempted to cover his actions. This, however, was quickly recognised by his own colleagues who reported the matter.”

A Bradford hospitals NHS trust spokesman said Garg was dismissed in March 2009. “We would like to reassure patients that we have undertaken a thorough review of Mr Garg’s practice and have not identified any similar concerns in relation to other patients.”