GMC Decision On ‘Care Alarms’ Doctor Backed By Lawyer

Registrar Struck Off Over Incidents

18.11.2010

The General Medical Council has been backed by a lawyer at Irwin Mitchell after it struck off a doctor who turned down the volume of patient alarms in an intensive care ward.

Dr Christopher Burrows, who works as a specialist registrar at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth, altered or switched off alarms despite warnings and challenges from other members of staff.

It was also revealed at a review hearing that he failed to cope with stress and was regularly rude to colleagues. The order will take effect in a month if the doctor does not appeal the decision.

Discussing the case, medical law expert Sara Burns of Irwin Mitchell said: “Alarms like those used in intensive care wards are often vital tools for ensuring that patients are receiving the right level of treatment.

“Because of this, it is concerning that the function of such systems was amended in such a way which could have had a serious impact on patient safety in this intensive care unit.

“I welcome the action taken in this case and I hope no further reports of such activity emerge in the future.”