No money – no treatment – doctor refuses to treat little girl

No money – no treatment – doctor refuses to treat little girl

A doctor denies the charge of refusing to treat a little girl as the mother had no money and was waiting for a medical card.

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He said it was his policy to treat patients irrespective of whether they had the money to pay for the consultation.

Dr Jerry Nasstrom was found guilty by the Medical Council on one count of professional misconduct for refusing or failing to treat the 1 and ½ year old girl at his surgery in the Coolock Health Centre in Dublin in January last year.

The hearing which went on for a day, found that beyond reasonable doubt the GP had failed to treat the child and therefore had “fallen seriously short” of what one would expect of a doctor.

The Medical Council will decide on what sanction to impose.

The child had a lump on her neck “the size of a golf ball” and her mother claimed the doctor had put her “life on the line” when he refused to treat her because she didn’t have the €40 fee.

The child was brought to Temple Street Children’s Hospital where treatment was given for an abscess on her neck.

Dr Nasstrom had asked the mother if she had a medical card and she explained she had applied for one.

“He came back out and told me he couldn’t find it (card). I asked him to take a look at my daughter and he told me it would cost €40,” she said.

“He clearly wasn’t happy to see her. If that was the case he shouldn’t have let me walk out of the health centre. He turned my child away and put her life on the line.”

When giving his evidence Dr Nasstrom said a large number of his patients had financial problems and he had never refused to treat anyone on the basis of not being able to pay.

 

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