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article imageDoctor alleged to have fitted wrong prosthetic foot on amputee

By Gemma Fox     Feb 3, 2010 in Health
Edinburgh - A city doctor faces being struck off after it's alleged he fitted the wrong prosthetic foot on an amputee. He also failed to notice his error on two separate occasions within seven months.
The doctor, Malcolm Griffiths, is alleged to have fitted left foot prosthetic onto a patient who had had their right leg amputated.
He faces a disciplinary hearing next week regarding this claim plus a series of other complaints.
The doctor, who works at the Smart (South-east Mobility and Rehabilitation Technology) centre at the Astley Ainslie hospital in the city, faces accusations about his standard of care from 11 different patients. He also faces complaints about his record keeping and and poor performance during his time working at the centre.
Should the Health Professions Council decide he is unfit to practice he could face being either suspended or completely struck off.
The allegation of the wrongly fitted prosthetic foot also comes with an accusation that between November 2006 and June 2007 the doctor failed to spot his error on two separate occasions.
In approximately the same time frame it's claimed one of his patients suffered unnecessary pain in the prosthetic socket when Griffiths failed to take a new cast in what is considered reasonable time.
Griffiths is also accused of:
- not following department protocols and, for a third patient, taking what's described as "excessive time" to complete work on their prosthetic
- in September and December 2007 he incorrectly designed sockets on two separate patients and in both cases they had to be remade
- failing to see patients entrusted into his care
- failing to act on advice given to him by a physiotherapist
- failing to deal with an inquiry from another patient
- between April and August 2007 it's alleged that Griffiths did not make repairs for a patient in a reasonable time frame.
His standards of work were of such a concern to his employers that it's claimed he was asked to attend formal hearings regarding his capabilities with the aim of improving the performance of his work. What the hearing will be told next week is that Griffiths failed to meet the objectives set in these formal capability hearings.
In December 2007 Griffiths was placed under "competency supervision" but the inquiry will be told that his performance continued to be poor and he failed to meet the standards set.
The allegations of poor record keeping include failing to keep patients notes accurate and full. He lost work, missed deadlines and failed to deal with referrals in a reasonable time frame. It's also claimed that he failed to meet standards in skills both clinically and in problem solving.
The hearing will hear the argument that Griffiths fitness to practice is impaired and that the allegations against him are misconduct or lack of competence.
NHS Lothian's director of human resources and organisational development, Alan Boyter said, "As soon as issues regarding this former member of staff's competence were raised, we set procedures in place to provide additional support and training. The member of staff was dismissed in September 2008 following a failure to engage in our competency supervision processes."
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