Ryan Morse: GP's fitness to practise impaired after boy's death

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Ryan MorseImage source, Family photo
Image caption,
Ryan Morse died at home in December 2012 of undiagnosed Addison's disease

A doctor's fitness to practise has been impaired by reason of misconduct after the death of a 12-year-old boy, a medical tribunal has found.

Dr Joanne Rudling failed to offer a home visit or make contemporaneous notes after a phone call with the mother of Ryan Morse, who died in 2012.

Ryan, from Brynithel, Blaenau Gwent, died of undiagnosed Addison's disease.

The Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service said impairment had been found but sanctions were still being decided.

On Friday, the tribunal found "failings and dishonesty" in the events surrounding Ryan's death.

He 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 found this was "seriously below the required standard" and an adequate history would have "alerted Dr Rudling to how potentially serious" Ryan's condition was.

It added this also led to no conclusion being drawn regarding the colour of his genitalia.

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

On Friday, it was found Dr Rudling had been dishonest, once when failing to record she had been told about Ryan's genitalia turning black in a bid to avoid criticism and then a year later, when providing a statement to Gwent Police.

In a statement read at the tribunal, Dr Rudling said: "[Ryan's] death has had a profound effect on me and in the past seven years I have tried to look back to see how I could have done things differently.

"I know my experiences have had a profound and life-long effect on me as a person and the way I practise. I want to take the negatives and try to turn them into positives and give this back to the community in which I work and where [Ryan] lived."

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

Dr Rudling 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 tribunal will now go onto consider what sanction, if any, is necessary to impose on the doctor's registration.