Friday, 19 June 2009

Baby P's doctor, Dr Sabah Al-Zayyat, to sue for £100,000

By Daily Mail Reporter

The doctor who was sacked from Great Ormond Street after she failed to spot Baby P's broken back is demanding compensation from the hospital.

Dr Sabah Al-Zayyat, a paediatric consultant who was the first person sacked in the wake of the scandal, has launched legal action against the hospital following her dismissal nine months after Baby Peter's death.

The 17-month-old could be alive today but Dr Al-Zayyat decided against conducting a full medical examination two days before he died in August 2007 because he was 'miserable and cranky'.

A source close to the case told the London Evening Standard that Dr Al-Zayyat, who lives in Ilford, had launched legal action for unfair dismissal.

The claim could be worth a six-figure sum, the minimum which would be £100,000.
The action will spark anger that a doctor roundly blamed for her part in Baby P's death should seek compensation.

It is understood Dr Al-Zayyat, who trained in Pakistan and Ireland, will argue she has been made a scapegoat for wider failures.

She was employed on a rolling six-month contract by Great Ormond Street on a salary of more than £75,000.

Dr Al-Zayyat is expected to claim she was never shown the child's full medical history and so didn't realise he was the long-term victim of abuse.

An official report recently criticised the hospital for failing to employ enough consultants to run the clinic. Dr Al-Zayyat's case may focus on a shortage of doctors which put her under huge pressure.

She is represented by lawyers working for the Medical Protection Society, the body which provides professional indemnity for doctors.

A Great Ormond Street spokesman said: 'We can confirm we have received notice of legal action. The trust will vigorously defend its position.

'We believe we acted fairly and in the interests of patients. Detailed rebuttal of Dr Al-Zayyat's claims will have to wait for any hearing.'

The spokesman added: 'We didn't scapegoat her. The case surrounds her dismissal from GOSH following the decision not to renew her fixed-term contract. The trust denies that the issue in the case is systematic failures.

'Even a junior doctor should have recognised the risks in a situation where there was a letter on file clearly stating that there were child protection concerns, and the child had visible bruises.

'This should have prompted any doctor to contact the social worker. It is also basic training to strip a child in order to carry out a full investigation.

'Two serious case reviews have questioned her practice.'

A source told the Evening Standard: 'Dr Al-Zayyat is claiming Great Ormond Street unfairly ended the contract and she is entitled to damages because of that.'

Baby P's body was found in a blood-spattered cot at his Tottenham home.

His mother was later jailed for a minimum five years for allowing or causing the death; her boyfriend received 12 years for his 'major role' while their lodger, Jason Owen, was sentenced to a minimum three years.
Source: Daily Mail
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