Advanced search

Not guilty verdict in FGM case - what do we think?

(108 Posts)
Amethyst24 Wed 04-Feb-15 23:25:56

It did seem like an intractable case with which to test the legislation, and it does appear the doctor was put in a position in which he had no idea how best to proceed. But I think it's encouraging that other medical staff are reacting when they see victims of the crime.

Malabrig0 Wed 04-Feb-15 23:41:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Amethyst24 Wed 04-Feb-15 23:52:20

Yes, that article explains it very well. How sad for everyone concerned, not least the young doctor. I do hope the next time we prosecute this crime we get it right.

GettingFiggyWithIt Thu 05-Feb-15 00:08:08

Awful case showing fuck all concern by the cps for the woman in question.

holidaysarenice Thu 05-Feb-15 00:43:19

Knowing the person involved I think thank god they didn't get the chance to destroy his life.

This has done nothing but drag the mother and the doctor to hell and back.

I would happily split my legs for him. That's how little regard I have for 'this case'

cailindana Thu 05-Feb-15 07:03:39

It did strike me that a junior reg obs, who can work alone, should know about FGM, especially when working in the Whittington. It's such basic knowledge and the fact that he didn't know what to do suggests he was very unprofessional - his ignorance caused him to commit a crime (albeit entirely unintentionally).
While I feel very sorry for him and think the police and CPS were utter arsewipes, particularly in how they treated the woman, I do hope that will send a very strong signal to doctors that they need to take FGM very seriously. Having been 'treated' by a breast institute that knew nothing about breasts and experienced general ignorance of HCPs around women (even when they're supposed to be specialists, like this guy) I think it's no harm to give the medical profession a kick up the arse and say ignorance isn't acceptable.

Kundry Thu 05-Feb-15 07:46:06

He wasn't a specialist though - he was a very junior doctor who had only just started working at the Whittington and no-one at the Whittington had bothered to train him.

The only strong message this has sent to doctors is that being a doctor is a shit job - masses of doctors are leaving training and indeed the country as it is such an unpleasant environment to work in.

Blu Thu 05-Feb-15 07:51:34

It crossed my mind that his background and the name of his (originally) co-accused may have played a part in the readiness with which the powers that be decided he had committed FGM.

Kundry Thu 05-Feb-15 07:54:53

Which is franly racist - brown doctor with a funny name, oh yes he must do FGM.

A moment's thought would have shown the co-accused (a relation of the woman) was Somali and Muslim while he was Sri Lankan and Hindu. They shared no cultural background at all and there is no culture of FGM in Sri Lanka.

Bonsoir Thu 05-Feb-15 08:03:25

This case is utterly outrageous.

Obviously it is not an ideal scenario, but so very many things about the gynecological history, pregnancy and labour of this woman were not ideal that it seems extraordinary to pinpoint the ignorance of procedure (not failings) of a doctor who was acting in good faith to save her life in pressurized circumstances.

Chunderella Thu 05-Feb-15 08:21:45

There were some useful posts from doctors on a thread about this in AIBU. One of them explained that when performing repairs after an episiotomy, it wouldn't be as simple as being able to distinguish between scar tissue from FGM and everything else. A clinician may sometimes have to stitch in a way that closes an infibulated woman back up somewhat, if the alternative is to leave her gaping. You are choosing between two non-ideal options, neither of which is perfectly safe but one being safer than the other.

I claim no medical expertise on FGM (have dealt with it a lot in a professional context but that's as an asylum lawyer) but it's very concerning that so many leading obstetricians identified this case as, basically, bullshit. With that in mind, I'm not sure this is going to send a strong signal about treating FGM properly at all. It might do the opposite. If there's a clinical need for some women to be restitched in a way that reseals their infibulation somewhat, which it appears from people who know more than me that there is, I can't see how we help women at all by scaring medical professionals off doing it.

FuckOffGroundhog Thu 05-Feb-15 09:17:12

I'm glad he has been let off but I'm also glad that it's in the media. I hope this does mean massive training all round. I thought it was unfair to blame the midwives too as we don't actually know if they saw her do we? I didn't have any vaginal exams and if she dind't tell them about the FGM how would they know?

Bonsoir Thu 05-Feb-15 09:18:24

The more I think about it, the more outrageous I think it is to make British midwives or doctors in any way responsible for FGM.

cailindana Thu 05-Feb-15 09:26:39

He wasn't a very junior doctor Kundry, he was a junior registrar, which is an old fashioned term which means he would have had at least 5 years training post medical school and was working towards becoming an obs consultant. A junior registrar can work alone without supervision, which means that someone working at that level should be fully aware of important practices like those surrounding FGM. He admitted himself he hadn't read the hospital guidance.

cailindana Thu 05-Feb-15 09:28:59

What do you mean Bonsoir? If someone comes into hospital with a particular medical history that means they require specialist care, surely midwives and doctors should be responsible for providing that care? FGM is a previous injury, which the doctors didn't create but which they are required to take into account when treating a patient. They can't just ignore it.

Chunderella Thu 05-Feb-15 10:53:22

In this instance it doesn't seem clear how far they were aware of that previous injury. Apparently the doctor was under the impression it was Type 2 FGM rather than Type 3- I wonder where that information came from? Like Groundhog I wonder if she chose not to disclose, and obviously pregnant women aren't routinely vaginally examined, but in that case it seems odd that they were aware there'd been any FGM at all.

Bonsoir the problem here is that we have a law preventing any FGM at all and that would include resewing a woman after childbirth for non-clinical reasons. There's obviously the libertarian argument that consenting adults should be able to elect whatever genital surgeries they want (though not for the NHS to pay for it) but unless you're advocating for that point, it's legitimate for clinicians to be held just as accountable as anyone else. There's an exemption for any procedure required as part of medical treatment. The problem appears to be that resewing a woman shut/somewhat shut after childbirth could fall on either side of the law. There appear to be some cases where safety requires it, some not. From what I as a non-clinician can tell, it seems to have been accepted here that the patient needed to be resewn but the doctor didn't follow procedure for the correct type of stitch to be used, and sealed her more than was necessary because of this.

VivaLeBeaver Thu 05-Feb-15 10:57:29

I feel really sorry for the Dr. Sounds like he was hung out to dry by the hospital who were the ones who reported him to the police.

He was a junior Reg, junior Regs should have the support of a senior Reg. He had quite probably only had two years of specalist obstetric training at SHO level.

He was very new to the Whittingdon and had never seen any FGM before. It's quite possible if he came from an area with no FGM that it hadn't crossed his mind as something he needed to know about. Where I work ive never seen a black woman on the labour ward, never mind a black woman that's come from Africa and actually had FGM.

Sounds to me it was a busy shift, no support from the senior reg. The article says he had to rush from this woman to an emergency section. So I imagine the senior reg was tied up with the other woman who ended up with the section. Sounds to me he treated it like he would any tear and stitched it back to how it was before childbirth.

It's horrendous that this came to trial.

BreakingDad77 Thu 05-Feb-15 11:04:25

The CPS strikes again, was listening on radio this morning and was just eyes rolling, case dismissed in 30 mins, yet person from CPS going on about its up to the Jury to make a decision and they have a different criteria to what we have. Presenter goes on to read criteria that shows that this shouldn't have proceeded from the start. The CPS person then goes on about how difficult its going to be to get a true case.

Do females in the UK not attend smears etc so there is no real surveillance or are GPS aware of it and its not escalated?

ifyourehoppyandyouknowit Thu 05-Feb-15 11:05:29

Especially horrendous because he raised it with his supervisor, realised there may have been an issue and there was an internal inquiry that highlighted the problems in the woman's treatment (both antenatal and during the birth) and measures were put in place to increase training etc.

3littlefrogs Thu 05-Feb-15 11:06:59

The woman came in in obstructed labour.
She suffered significant birth injury due to the pre-existing FGM.
The doctor saved her baby's life.
He sutured her to stop serious bleeding.
He was worried about whether he had done the correct procedure and later asked his consultant to review the case. The consultant agreed that he had acted correctly to save baby and mother.

This is a case of a soft target being prosecuted for political reasons.
Luckily the jury saw that.

The doctor is still suspended and has to face a GMC enquiry.
This is every HCP's worst nightmare.

I can't see that he did anything but his best for the mother and baby at the time.

shaska Thu 05-Feb-15 11:12:16

It just seems very sad - I can't see how this sort of case would've been the main intention of the law. As far as I can tell from what I read, it was accepted that there was no intention on his part to conduct an illegal procedure, nor did the woman feel that anything illegal or unwanted was done to her and yet it still got this far.

Very glad he and she can now, hopefully, get on with their lives.

I did read that he had denied a couple of motions to dismiss, or something - does anyone know why? I'm assuming that these were offers to let him off if he admitted some degree of guilt and that's why he refused.

cailindana Thu 05-Feb-15 11:36:11

To be clear, I think this case was an entirely political move on the part of the CPS and that this doctor was unfairly targeted. That said, he did do the wrong thing and should have had a mild slap on the wrist for not being up to date on what to do to best serve his patients.

Smallcogbigwheel Thu 05-Feb-15 11:55:31

From what has been reported it sounds as though it was a total over-reaction. As someone said above there are grounds here for re-training and a slap on the wrist. The doc in question was professional enough to admit he was totally sure he had done the right thing and asked for advice.
It feels a little like he's been punished for this.

Chunderella Thu 05-Feb-15 12:05:10

There's a smear programme breakingdad, but not everyone goes. Also, normally one is first invited at 25. The woman in question is now 26 and gave birth over two years ago, so probably wasn't old enough to have been invited for one at that point. Surveillance and recording don't come into it if a woman has never had any cause to seek or receive vaginal examination before, and that may be what happened here.

Amethyst24 Thu 05-Feb-15 12:13:13

frogs as I read it, when he consulted the senior reg she told him that putting the extra stitch in was the wrong thing to have done but that now he had it was best to leave it.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now