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'Irresponsible' pathologist suspended for 3 months

PUBLISHED: 17:41 08 September 2010 | UPDATED: 11:11 14 October 2010

Dr Freddy Patel - suspended

Dr Freddy Patel - suspended

A HOME Office pathologist who was criticised for his autopsy on a G20 protest victim has been suspended for three months. Dr Freddy Patel, 63, who said that Ian Tomlinson died of a heart attack during the demonstration, was found to have been irresponsib

A HOME Office pathologist who was criticised for his autopsy on a G20 protest victim has been suspended for three months.

Dr Freddy Patel, 63, who said that Ian Tomlinson died of a heart attack during the demonstration, was found to have been "irresponsible" in three earlier autopsies - one of which was on a five-year-old Holloway girl who had been abused by her stepmother.

The pathologist, who is based at St Pancras Mortuary in Camley Street, King's Cross, and deals with deaths in Islington and Camden, was told he had been guilty of "very serious" failings at a General Medical Council (GMC) hearing on Friday.

Richard Davies, chairman of the GMC disciplinary panel, told Dr Patel his "shortcomings arose from a failure to take account of, or otherwise adhere to, relevant professional guidance."

However, Dr Patel was only banned for 12 weeks - because there "could well be a genuine public interest" in him working again. Patel will only be allowed to work on non-suspicious deaths. He is also barred from acting as an expert witness for the defence in suspicious death cases.

Dr Patel was found to have been "irresponsible" in three autopsies.

The first related to Annastacia, who died days after being found convulsing in Sutterton Street, Holloway, in September 2002.

Dr Patel was said to have made a "cursory" examination - missing "significant marks of violence".

The youngster had to be exhumed after X-rays revealed broken bones. A second pathologist found finger-nail gouges and a bite mark.

Annastacia's stepmother, Christine Green, was jailed for four years after being convicted of child cruelty in 2003, while her father was jailed for two years for neglect.

Dr Patel was cleared of misconduct with regard to his examination, but was found guilty of deficient professional performance. He was, however, found guilty of misconduct in respect to two other post-mortems.

One was into the death of a three-week-old baby who had allegedly died from cot death in August 2003.

While Dr Patel raised the alarm when he found fractured ribs, he failed to conduct a full skeletal survey before the autopsy.

The panel found Dr Patel had "deliberately ignored the guidelines" for his own convenience.

In the third case, Dr Patel changed his opinion on an autopsy of an elderly woman, who was found dead at the foot of her stairs "to satisfy the family".

The Crown Prosecution Service, which has a lawyer reviewing the Tomlinson case, has said it will now look at the GMC's findings.

Dr Patel found that Mr Tomlinson died of natural causes linked to coronary artery disease.

But two other pathologists ruled Mr Tomlinson died of internal bleeding as a result of blunt force trauma, in combination with cirrhosis of the liver. The pathologists' failure to agree led to no charges being brought.


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