Monday, March 21, 2016

Bulletin: Dr. Waney Squier: Aftermath (2): Guardian story on the renowned neuropathologist's removal from the medieval register by the General Medical Council: "Doctor who denies shaken baby syndrome struck off: Dr Waney Squier banned from practising after being found guilty of misleading courts in six cases where infants died."

"A leading expert in children’s brain development who denies the existence of shaken baby syndrome has been banned from practising as a doctor after being found guilty of misleading the courts in six cases where infants died. Dr Waney Squier, a consultant neuropathologist at the John Radcliffe hospital in Oxford, has been struck off the medical register after being found to have lied and given misleading evidence in court. The Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service, the disciplinary arm of the General Medical Council, said on Monday that it had no option but to end Squier’s medical career given her serial dishonesty. The MPTS’s judgment said: “Your conduct is fundamentally incompatible with continued registration as a medical practitioner. As such it has determined that your name be erased from the medical register. The tribunal considers that erasure is the only appropriate sanction which will maintain public confidence in the profession.” The tribunal’s five-page explanation of its decision was scathing about Squier’s conduct as an expert witness in six cases involving the deaths of babies aged between one month and 19 months with brain injuries at either the Old Bailey or the high court. “Your reports supported meretricious appeals, giving false hope to parents. Your evidence was given in very serious cases, based on a highly controversial subject and with great public interest. “Your deliberately misleading and dishonest evidence in court had the potential to subvert the course of justice.”.........The tribunal rejected the argument by Sir Robert Francis QC, Squier’s barrister at the six-month hearing, that striking her off could deter other doctors from giving expert testimony in cases involving allegedly shaken babies. It pointed to Squier’s multiple breaches of good medical practice, the ethical guidance that the GMC as the regulator of doctors expects all medics to abide by. It said, for example, she had breached her duty that “if you are asked to give evidence or act as a witness in litigation or formal inquiries, you must be honest in all your spoken and written statements. You just make clear the limits of your knowledge or competence.” Simply putting conditions on Squier’s licence would be inadequate, it ruled, given her repeated dishonesty. It also ruled out suspending her from practising as a doctor due to conduct it described as “of a morally culpable nature which brings the reputation if the profession into disrepute”.