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Merseyside Doctor Suspended After Woman Died When Prescribed Drug Despite Medical Records Alert

Lawyers Welcome Suspension Of Dr Shashangka Otiv After Serious Errors Led To Mother-Of-Two’s Death


Expert medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell have welcome the decision from the General Medical Council (GMC) to suspend Dr Shashangka Otiv for 12 months after he failed to heed alerts on the medical records of a Runcorn woman and prescribed her drugs she had suffered a bad reaction to in the past, which ultimately contributed to her death.

Mother-of-two Carol Gibson, 65, from Palacefields, Runcorn, died in August 2012 as a result of an adverse reaction to the drug nitrofurantoin which was prescribed to help ease symptoms of a urinary tract infection, despite her suffering similar issues when prescribed the drug four years earlier. 

It was found that antibiotic had been prescribed by Dr Otiv in August 2011, April 2012 and August 2012, even though her records stated she should not take the drug.

She died in August 2012, just days after her last prescription. An inquest heard how alerts on her medical records were ignored and the doctor responsible for her care admitted liability for her death via his legal representatives. He has now appeared before a Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service panel.

The panel, which was chaired by Dr Brian Alderman, said his actions amounted to misconduct, but neglected to revoke his medical licence, instead suspending him immediately for a period of 12 months, stating that his misconduct had related to “one patient in a career spanning over 30 years at the same practice”.

Dr Otiv said he did not recall seeing any warnings on Mrs Gibson’s medical records and admitted to editing her electronic records to cancel the prescription of the drug, as well as failing to state he had prescribed nitrofurantoin when preparing a report for the coroner following Mrs Gibson’s death. His suspension will be reviewed before his return to work.

Ayse Ince, a specialist medical negligence lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, who represented Mrs Gibson’s family, said: 

Expert Opinion
The GMC has concluded that whilst Dr Otiv has been a dedicated GP for 30 years, the fact that he ‘edited’ Mrs Gibson’s medical records following her death has been termed as ‘dishonest’. Dr Otiv failed to heed the vital warning signs on her records, and continued to prescribe the antibiotic, nitrofurotonin, which ultimately killed her. As a result Dr Otiv has been suspended for 12 months and we hope this outcome will ensure tragedies like this do not happen again.

“Alert messages have been implemented into electronic medical records for a very good reason and are designed to aid doctors when making decisions about drug prescriptions and treatments. It is absolutely imperative that these medical histories are assessed correctly by medical professionals to prevent tragic incidents such as this in the future.

“Furthermore, patients should have confidence in the medical profession to act with integrity at all times, otherwise it will undermine public confidence. Having faith in people that provide care to you is essential.”
Ayse Ince, Associate

If you or a loved one has suffered as a result of GP negligence, we may be able to help you claim compensation. See our Medical Negligence Guide for more information.

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