A DOCTOR who allowed a psychotic woman to leave hospital just hours before she killed her two-year-old son is to be struck off the medical register.
A medical tribunal today (MON) found Dr Clement Agbatar guilty of serious misconduct in failing to ensure Melanie Ruddell was seen by a mental health crisis team at University Hospital of Hartlepool.
Mrs Ruddell was brought to the hospital by ambulance in August 2010, but discharged herself. Later that night, she strangled and stabbed her son Christy at her brother's home in West Rainton, near Durham City.
She then drove to Peterlee Police Station carrying the toddler's lifeless body.
Dr Agbatar, who has since retired, was found guilty of serious misconduct at a Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service hearing in Manchester, where Mrs Ruddell was referred to as Patient M.
Panel chair Dr Susan O'Connor said "The panel considers that in your care of Patient M there was a sequence of failures which each, in turn, amplified the seriousness of the subsequent failure".
She added: "The panel is of the view that the public interest requires that it be made clear that your behaviour, as detailed previously, is unacceptable in a member of the medical profession.
"Accordingly, the panel has determined to direct that your name be erased from the medical register".
Dr Agbatar had claimed that he did not make a diagnosis in Mrs Ruddell’s case, but the panel found there was sufficient evidence to indicate psychosis as was suggested by his referral to the crisis team.
However, the panel did accept that Dr Agbatar did not have the power to section Mrs Ruddell under the terms of the Mental Health Act.
The A&E doctor earlier told the hearing that he was left "aggrieved", "annoyed" and "angry" by the findings.
Dr O’Connor said: "There has been no evidence to demonstrate you recognise the seriousness of your misconduct or that you have gained insight into the gravity of it.
"The panel therefore accepts, on the basis of the evidence before it, that there is a risk of repetition of your misconduct.
"Therefore the panel can only conclude that your fitness to practise is impaired by reason of your misconduct".
The doctor's name will be removed from the register in 28 days, subject to appeal.