Doctor worked way he was taught 30 years ago

A Te Kuiti doctor accused of professional misconduct told a hearing yesterday that he had been working the way he was taught 30 years ago.

Dr Ngaamo Thomson told the Medical Practitioners' Disciplinary Tribunal that he had not caught up with the idea that giving a patient oxygen could only be an advantage, no matter what the diagnosis.

He was taught by a Te Kuiti doctor 30 years ago, who said giving oxygen could cause another brain bleed.

He shrugged when the tribunal suggested his practice was out of date.

The case concerned Dr Thomson's treatment of Te Kuiti woman Meretina Kura, who suffered a brain haemorrhage in September 1996.

The Health and Disability Commission alleges Dr Thomson told Mrs Kura's family she had the flu and treated her with a drink made from koromiko leaves.

Mrs Kura was later admitted to hospital by another doctor, where she died two weeks later.

Dr Thomson admitted any patient would have a 30 per cent chance of recovery from a brain haemorrhage, but when asked if "by holding her in her house, you denied her that 30 per cent chance," he replied: "No, not at all."

The tribunal asked: "If she has something that's correctable, and a window of opportunity to do well, shouldn't we use that?"

"What is the opportunity?" Dr Thomson asked. "Auckland public [hospital]? And how long does it take her to get there?"

Professional misconduct is the second most serious charge the tribunal can hear, after disgraceful conduct.

Dr Thomson had been convicted of professional misconduct in 1994 after a similar incident. He had been placed under supervision, which ended this year. His supervisors lived in Tolaga Bay and Auckland and met Dr Thomson only once a month.

In her summary of the two-day hearing yesterday, Bronwen Klippel, counsel for the commission, said Dr Thomson's treatment was woefully inadequate.

Counsel for the Health and Disability Commission, Bronwen Klippel, told the tribunal Dr Ngaamo Thomson had played God with the life of a patient, plucking diagnoses out of the air.

The case concerned Dr Thomson's treatment of Te Kuiti woman Meretina Kura, who suffered a brain haemorrhage in September 1996.

Professional misconduct is the second most serious charge the tribunal can hear, after disgraceful conduct.

The commission alleged Dr Thomson told Mrs Kura's family she had the flu and treated her with a drink made from koromiko leaves.

Mrs Kura was later admitted to hospital by another doctor, where she died two weeks later.

In her summary of the two-day hearing yesterday, Ms Klippel said Dr Thomson's treatment was woefully inadequate.

Dr Thomson had been convicted of professional misconduct in 1994 after a similar incident. He had been placed under supervision, which ended this year. His supervisors lived in Tolaga Bay and Auckland and met Dr Thomson only once a month.

When questioned by the tribunal, Dr Thomson said he had not caught up with the idea that giving a patient oxygen could only be an advantage, no matter what the diagnosis. In his summary, defence counsel Stephen Clark criticised conflicting and inconsistent evidence given by several witnesses.

He said the tribunal was not hearing if Dr Thomson's action related to "saving a life, but the management of a life in the final stages."

The tribunal retired to consider its decision.

The case concerned Dr Thomson's treatment of Te Kuiti woman Meretina Kura, who suffered a brain haemorrhage in September 1996.

Professional misconduct is the second most serious charge the tribunal can hear, after disgraceful conduct.

The Health and Disability Commission alleged Dr Thomson told Mrs Kura's family she had the flu and treated her with a drink made from koromiko leaves.

Mrs Kura was later admitted to hospital by another doctor, where she died two weeks later.

In her summary of the two-day hearing yesterday, Bronwen Klippel, counsel for the commission, said Dr Thomson's treatment was woefully inadequate.

Dr Thomson had been convicted of professional misconduct in 1994 after a similar incident. He had been placed under supervision, which ended this year. His supervisors lived in Tolaga Bay and Auckland and met Dr Thomson only once a month.

In his summary, defence counsel Stephen Clark criticised conflicting and inconsistent evidence given by several witnesses.

He said the tribunal was not hearing if Dr Thomson's action related to "saving a life, but the management of a life in the final stages."

The tribunal retired to consider its decision.

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