Wales

Ryan Morse death: 'Failings and dishonesty' in GP's actions

Ryan Morse Image copyright Family photo
Image caption Ryan Morse died at home in December 2012

A medical tribunal has found failings and dishonesty in the actions of a GP in the events surrounding the death of a 12-year-old boy.

Dr Joanne Rudling was found to have failed to note details of a call with Ryan Morse's mother the day before he died of undiagnosed Addison's disease.

She was then found to have been dishonest in a statement to police.

The tribunal, in Manchester, also found one of Dr Rudling's failings was an attempt to avoid criticism.

'Failings'

Ryan, from Brynithel, Blaenau Gwent, died the day after a three-minute call between Dr Rudling and Carol Morse, Ryan's mother, on Friday 7 December 2012.

Dr Rudling did not make a contemporaneous note of the call, in which Ms Morse said Ryan's genitalia had turned black.

The tribunal said Dr Rudling failed to obtain an adequate history of Ryan's wellbeing and change in genitalia colour, failed to advise an urgent assessment was required and failed to provide a home visit.

Ryan died at home a day after the call, and Dr Rudling only made a note of the call between her and Ms Morse when police arrived at the Abernant Surgery in Abertillery as part of their investigations into his death on 10 December.

She then made an entry into the system while police waited, which read: "No pain or discomfort, said that a bit better from temperature point of view. Offered to see or offered to see male doctor on Monday. Mum said would ring."

Image caption Joanne Rudling, pictured in 2016, was cleared of manslaughter by gross negligence and perverting the course of justice

'Dishonest'

Jayne Wheat, the chair of the medical practitioners tribunal, said Dr Rudling had acted dishonestly when making an untrue statement to Gwent Police in November 2013.

Dr Rudling told police she had seen a summary of a fellow doctor's notes from an earlier call to the surgery from Ms Morse earlier on 7 December 2012.

But the tribunal ruled this was dishonest because she knew her statement to police wasn't true.

The tribunal accepted Dr Rudling genuinely believed she did not make a contemporaneous entry because her computer had been disconnected, and she was cleared of an allegation from the General Medical Council of failing to record it as a retrospective entry so as to mislead anyone reviewing Ryan's medical records.

The tribunal also heard it was "usual practice" to backdate entries.

Dr Rudling, along with Dr Lindsey Thomas, who also practised at the surgery, were cleared of manslaughter by gross negligence at a trial in 2016.

She was also cleared of perverting the course of justice.

An inquest in September 2017 concluded that Ryan's death was "due to natural causes where the opportunity to administer lifesaving treatment was missed" because the youngster was not referred to hospital.

The hearing continues next week when the tribunal will consider if Dr Rudling's fitness to practice is impaired.

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