Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Ban Imposed On Controversial British Pediatrician Dr. David Southall Lifted Pending Appeal Court Decision To Permit Humanitarian Work;

BBC News reports that the ban imposed on Dr. David Southall by the British Medical Council has been lifted to allow him to perform humanitarian work;

Southall was the subject of an earlier post entitled, "Part One: After Goudge; Will there be lasting change? Not necessarily; The British experience." (March 13, 2008);

That post read:

"The other leading light in the drive to unearth hidden abuse in Britain (apart from Sir Roy Meadow H.L.) was Prof David Southall. Working on aspects of MSbP in the late 1980s and early 90s, he videoed parents whom he suspected of suffocating children.

Thirty-three parents or step-parents were prosecuted, though the evidence may have been unreliable: clasping a child to the chest could, for example, indicate feeding rather than smothering.

The (Sally) Clark case was also his undoing when, having merely seen Steve on television, he stated to police that it was 'beyond reasonable doubt' that Steve had murdered his sons. (This statement is explained in the CBC report below);

A three-year ban from child protection work followed in 2004;

In December 2007 he was struck off for, among other charges, concealing the medical records of some 4,500 children."

(For more on Dr. Southall, see: "Part Five; After Goudge; Will there be change? Not necessarily; Dr. David Southall; The British Experience;" (March 20, 2008);

"Paediatrician David Southall has overturned a ban which stopped him working as a doctor," the BBC report, published Wednesday, April 23, begins;

"The General Medical Council struck off Dr Southall for serious professional misconduct. His appeal is continuing," the report continues;

"But it admitted at the High Court it was wrong to apply 2004 guidelines retrospectively in enforcing the ban.

Dr Southall, still employed at the North Staffordshire University Hospital, remains banned from undertaking child protection work.

He was barred from working as a doctor after the GMC decided he had abused his position by accusing a mother of drugging and murdering her son.

Mother distressed

The GMC found that Dr Southall's actions added to the distress of the mother - Mandy Morris, from Shropshire - whose 10-year-old son Lee hanged himself in 1996.

The hearing in December heard how Dr Southall made the claim in an interview with Mrs Morris about the safety of her surviving son.

The GMC also ruled Dr Southall had acted inappropriately in some cases by keeping original medical documents on children in his care separate from their medical records.

The GMC told the High Court that rules used to apply for Dr Southall's suspension were introduced in 2004.

As the allegations centred on events prior to 2004, the previous set of rules should have been applied, which would have meant the ban was not imposed.

Work abroad

The GMC said in a statement on Tuesday: "We can confirm that the immediate suspension imposed on Dr David Southall's registration has been lifted by mutual consent.

"The GMC supports the application to lift the immediate suspension, pending the outcome of the appeal against the panel's direction to erase Dr Southall's name from the medical register.

"Dr Southall's registration will be subject to previously imposed conditions which prevent him undertaking any child protection work."

Dr Southall said it was important for him to have the suspension overturned so he could work as a doctor for "humanitarian aid work abroad".

Wrongly jailed

He added that he would be leaving his job at the hospital in Staffordshire from June.

In a separate case in 2004, he was suspended from child protection work over his role in the case of Sally Clark, wrongly jailed over the death of her two sons. Dr Southall had accused Mrs Clark's husband Steve of murdering the two boys on the basis of a television interview Mr Clark gave.

The doctor also faces another GMC disciplinary hearing into the so-called CNEP breathing tank experiments at the hospital in the 1990s.

The case is expected to start in Manchester next week and will look into the research carried out which involved placing premature babies into low-pressure incubators so they could breathe on their own."