A&E doctor struck off after psychotic patient kills her son

TRAGEDY: Christy Ruddell

TRAGEDY: Christy Ruddell

First published in News
Last updated

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.

Comments (4)

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7:43pm Mon 31 Mar 14

NO EINSTEIN says...

I deeply sympathise with this Doctor I really do.
I have worked in this area, and trying to get the Crisis team out to **** someone is near impossible, there as rare as hens teeth.

Also he can't section the woman on his own, and on top of this every single person i've ever seen taken into police custody under the mental health act was released.

If Doctors asked for all the patients they were worried about to see someone on a hunch, the system would collapse, plus we live in such a blame culture, the patients would be suing doctors left right and centre.
I deeply sympathise with this Doctor I really do. I have worked in this area, and trying to get the Crisis team out to **** someone is near impossible, there as rare as hens teeth. Also he can't section the woman on his own, and on top of this every single person i've ever seen taken into police custody under the mental health act was released. If Doctors asked for all the patients they were worried about to see someone on a hunch, the system would collapse, plus we live in such a blame culture, the patients would be suing doctors left right and centre. NO EINSTEIN
  • Score: 8

7:54pm Mon 31 Mar 14

punkrocker says...

no einstein i know the father of this child and i deeply sympathise with him and his family.(remember the victims).
the doctor has been able to retire early no doubt with his full pension.some punishment for being neglective which resulted in a childs death.
no einstein i know the father of this child and i deeply sympathise with him and his family.(remember the victims). the doctor has been able to retire early no doubt with his full pension.some punishment for being neglective which resulted in a childs death. punkrocker
  • Score: -5

8:54pm Mon 31 Mar 14

NO EINSTEIN says...

punkrocker wrote:
no einstein i know the father of this child and i deeply sympathise with him and his family.(remember the victims).
the doctor has been able to retire early no doubt with his full pension.some punishment for being neglective which resulted in a childs death.
I fully accept your point, and the death of this child is so awful I don't know how id cope.

Its just the cuts made on the NHS, and the unfair pressure placed on doctors, and cuts in the services, are sadly going to make a lot more cases like this.

The point i'm making is that the government are as much to blame as this Doctor, he can only work with the tools they give him, and its not a lot.
[quote][p][bold]punkrocker[/bold] wrote: no einstein i know the father of this child and i deeply sympathise with him and his family.(remember the victims). the doctor has been able to retire early no doubt with his full pension.some punishment for being neglective which resulted in a childs death.[/p][/quote]I fully accept your point, and the death of this child is so awful I don't know how id cope. Its just the cuts made on the NHS, and the unfair pressure placed on doctors, and cuts in the services, are sadly going to make a lot more cases like this. The point i'm making is that the government are as much to blame as this Doctor, he can only work with the tools they give him, and its not a lot. NO EINSTEIN
  • Score: 5

10:35am Tue 1 Apr 14

Pooly1 says...

There are no winners in this case, a child has lost his life, a mother is locked up indefinitely, the wider family has lost both of them, and a Dr has been struck off at the end of his career.
This woman's mental health issues didn't begin on the day this child died, the family must have had concerns long before this happened, but no action was taken to protect this child or get the mother help from her own GP, social services etc.
This child, his mother and his wider family where failed by a lot more services and people than one doctor who I believe is nothing more than another victim in this tragic case to cover up a lot of other peoples mistakes.
There are no winners in this case, a child has lost his life, a mother is locked up indefinitely, the wider family has lost both of them, and a Dr has been struck off at the end of his career. This woman's mental health issues didn't begin on the day this child died, the family must have had concerns long before this happened, but no action was taken to protect this child or get the mother help from her own GP, social services etc. This child, his mother and his wider family where failed by a lot more services and people than one doctor who I believe is nothing more than another victim in this tragic case to cover up a lot of other peoples mistakes. Pooly1
  • Score: 2

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