A Nigerian doctor in the UK, Dr. Hadiza Bawa-Garba, who was struck off over the death of a six-year-old boy has won her appeal to practice medicine again.
Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba was convicted of manslaughter by gross negligence in 2015 over the death of Jack Adcock, who died of sepsis in 2011.
She was struck off in January 2018.
Her appeal was funded by medics because they said the ruling would discourage practitioners from being open when reviewing mistakes.
Dr Bawa-Garba had been suspended from the medical register for a year in June 2017.
However, the General Medical Council (GMC) appealed against the decision claiming it was “not sufficient to protect the public” and she was struck off in January 2018.
Thousands of doctors signed an open letter of support for Dr Bawa-Garba stating the case would “lessen our chances of preventing a similar death”.
Earlier, three senior judges quashed the High Court’s decision and restored the lesser sanction of a one-year suspension.
Master of the Rolls Sir Terence Etherton, who announced the ruling, said “no concerns” had “ever been raised about the clinical competence of Dr Bawa-Garba, other than in relation to Jack’s death”.
“The evidence before the tribunal was that she was in the top third of her specialist trainee cohort,” he said.
He added that the tribunal was satisfied her actions in relation to the boy were “neither deliberate nor reckless”, and did “not present a continuing risk to patients”.
Charlie Massey, chief executive of the GMC, fully accepted the Court of Appeal’s judgement.
“As the independent regulator responsible for protecting patient safety we are frequently called upon to take difficult decisions, and we do not take that role lightly.”
Mr Massey added the case had “exposed a raft of concerns” around the role of criminal law in medicine and the GMC had commissioned an independent review as a consequence.
Dr Samantha Batt-Rawden, chair of the Doctors’ Association UK, said the decision was a “small step in the right direction for patients and doctors”.
“We need to make sure that patients and families get the answers they need through open and transparent engagement with NHS organisations,” she said.
“The GMC needs to rethink its priorities in enabling this to happen rather than aggressively pursuing doctors in the courts.”