Colchester doctor suspended after draining excessive spinal fluid and then lying to patient about it

The doctor has been suspended for 12 months
The doctor has been suspended for 12 months -Credit:Getty Images

An Essex doctor has been suspended for a full year after draining an "excessive amount" of brain and spinal fluid. A medical tribunal has suspended Dr Saadia Kamran Rao after he "did not provide good clinical care" to her patient.

The patient, referred to as only "Patient A", was having a cerebrospinal drainage procedure when the fluid was taken, with the doctor denying that there was an "excessive" amount withdrawn and then disposing of a portion of it.

Details came to light during a Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) hearing into Dr Rao's conduct, held earlier this month. The panel heard that during the procedure, a small flexible tube - a lumbar drain - is placed in the lower spine. The tube drains excess cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) which fills the fluid compartment of the brain and around the spinal cord, to prevent them both being injured easily.

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During the procedure on July 14, 2021, Dr Rao aspirated approximately 110ml of cerebrospinal fluid, which the tribunal says was "an excessive amount", as a typical CSF drainage sees up to 40 to 50ml taken. Dr Rao then “falsely" said the patient had aspirated around 75mls of CSF during the procedure, "or words to that effect".

The doctor additionally admitted to collecting from the laboratory four vials containing CSF aspirated during the procedure, and to "clandestinely disposing" of around 50mls of CSF. Chair of the panel Nathan Moxon said: "She made an entry in Patient A’s medical records stating 36ml of CSF had been measured by Miss D from the four vials obtained from the laboratory.

"The amount of fluid you caused Miss D to record did not reflect the actual amount of CSF that you had obtained from the laboratory. He told Miss E to inform Patient A’s mother if asked that during the procedure you had aspirated 36ml of CSF alongside 10ml that went to the laboratory, or words to that effect."

Mr Moxon concluded: “In light of the earlier findings, particularly in relation to the ongoing risk to patient safety, it is necessary in order to protect the public, to uphold the public interest, and to maintain and promote proper professional standards, to direct an immediate order of suspension.”

Dr Rao's fitness to practise was deemed to be impaired, and their registration as a doctor was suspended for a period of 12 months. It imposed an immediate order of suspension to cover the 28-day appeal period and directed a review hearing should take place before the substantive sanction of suspension comes to an end.