Eye consultant who tried to cover up lens implant mistake is hit with warning

Dr Andrew Ramsay in 2012 at West Suffolk Hospital

Dr Andrew Ramsay in 2012 at West Suffolk Hospital

An ophtalmology consultant has been rapped with a warning after he fitted the wrong lens implant in a patient and tried to cover up the mistake.

Dr Andrew Steven Ramsay, from Lackford near Bury St Edmunds, admitted fitting the wrong intraocular lens implant to a patient on November 1, 2013 at the private Cambridge Nuffield Hospital.

Following a hearing, the Medical Practitioners Tribunal ruled that Dr Ramsay discovered on November 21, 2013 that he fitted the wrong implant because he relied on biometric data from another patient but failed to record this on the patient’s notes.

He removed the biometry print out from the patient’s records and initially failed to tell the hospital director about the mistake during a meeting on February 14, 2014 which formed part of the hospital’s investigations.

The tribunal judged that Dr Ramsay’s acts and omissions were ‘misleading and dishonest’. Although they found his fitness to practise ‘is not currently impaired’ by his misconduct, Dr Ramsay was hit with a formal warning.

It reads: “This conduct does not meet the standards required of a doctor. It risks bringing the profession into disrepute and it must not be repeated.”

Dr Ramsay, who was also a consultant at West Suffolk Hospital from 2001 to 2014, is currently a consultant ophthalmic surgeon with Anglia Community Eye Service (ACES) who have clinics across East Anglia.

During the hearing, the General Medical Council argued that Dr Ramsay discovered the mistake on November 8. although he said it was actually on November 21, which the tribunal accepted.

It was alleged that Dr Ramsay recorded in the patient’s notes that he experienced a ‘myopic surprise’ knowing this was not the case.

However, the tribunal accepted that when Dr Ramsay made this note, he believed there had been a ‘myopic surprise’. The tribunal accepted that Dr Ramsay informed the patient of the error after he completed a second procedure to implant the correct lens on November 21.

It also ruled the mistake was ‘not, by strict definition a never event’ - something that should never happen.

The hearing was told about a ‘breakdown of professional relationships’ at West Suffolk and Nuffield Hospitals.

Giving evidence, a ‘Mr D’, - Dr Ramsay’s responsible officer at the time - said the environment was ‘highly toxic’ and amounted to ‘almost a witch hunt’ against Dr Ramsay by colleagues.

A colleague at West Suffolk Hospital, referred to as ‘Dr F’, said the environment went from ‘difficult to utterly rancid’ and said one cause of this discord was the development of Dr Ramsay’s private practice, which reduced the amount of private work available to colleagues.

Dr F quoted a colleague as saying: “He has taken £100,000 out of each of our pockets.” Dr Ramsay also ‘experienced a range of bullying tactics’. The tribunal judged that his work situation was ‘highly relevant’ to the context of his dishonesty.

Dr Ramsay feared that if he was frank about his mistake he would be ‘further persecuted by surgical colleagues’.

He is now working in a ‘more supportive environment’. The tribunal felt there is ‘no significant risk of repetition of similar behaviour’ and there are ‘no concerns that the safety of patients would be compromised in the future’.

A spokesman for Nuffield said it does not comment on individual cases.

A spokesman for West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust said: “We cannot comment on individual cases. However, we take any allegation of bullying extremely seriously and would carry out a full investigation should any concerns be raised.”