Doctor involved in death of Dronfield nursery pupil Gracie Foster to continue practising medicine despite 'serious misconduct'

The doctor involved in the death of Dronfield nursery pupil Gracie Foster has been cleared to continue practising - despite committing ‘serious misconduct’.

Friday, 13th March 2020, 10:20 am
Updated Monday, 16th March 2020, 2:14 pm

Dr Baljinder ‘Tim’ Ubhi failed to carry out a slew of checks on four-year-old Gracie, who died several hours after he discharged her from Chesterfield Royal Hospital.

A Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service hearing this week ruled that, despite finding ‘serious misconduct’, he had learnt from it and was not ‘impaired’.

However, it did agree to attach a warning to Dr Uhbi’s registration, ‘as a deterrent to all doctors of recognising the duty of care to any patient’.

Sign up to our public interest bulletins - get the latest news on the Coronavirus

Sign up to our public interest bulletins - get the latest news on the Coronavirus

Gracie Foster

The hearing was told Dr Ubhi had thought of Gracie daily since her death and sought to improve his practice.

Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Trust said it hoped Gracie’s family can take ‘some small comfort’ from the fact care of other children has been improved as a result of the incident.

Michelle Foster, Gracie’s mother, said had she received proper care she is ‘likely to have survived’.

Gracie, from Old Whittington, arrived at Chesterfield Royal Hospital to have her tonsils removed, but fell ill while waiting.

However, she was was then sent home by Dr Ubhi, a locum paediatric consultant.

The pupil at Dronfield's Lenthall Nursery and Infant School died hours later after being rushed to Sheffield Children’s Hospital with meningococcal septicaemia.

Her inquest in September 2018, found there were ‘gross failures’ by healthcare professionals representing ‘neglect’ which contributed to her ‘preventable’ death by natural causes.

The tribunal found Dr Ubhi ‘failed’ to adequately review Gracie’s medical records, or obtain a patient history. It also found he failed to assess her behaviour, heart rate, breathing, capillary refill time, skin colour or temperature.

The General Medical Council told the tribunal Dr Ubhi’s response to Gracie’s death had contributed to the stress, pain and upset of her family for several years.

Dr Uhbi’s legal team agreed his actions amounted to ‘serious misconduct’, admitting he had been ‘cutting corners, due to how busy he was’.

A case of meningitis had recently been reported at Gracie’s school and the trust said Gracie’s care would ‘almost certainly’ have been handled differently, had staff known of the case.

Luise Sweet, tribunal chairman, said: “Dr Ubhi’s actions fell far below the standards of conduct reasonably expected of a doctor.”

Carolle White, a specialist in medical negligence at law firm Nelsons, on behalf of Ms Foster, said: “The staff at the hospital never changed their thinking from Gracie being a patient waiting for surgery to her being a really poorly little girl.

“The seriousness of her condition was underestimated, and meningococcal septicaemia went undiagnosed and untreated. “Had such treatment been provided, Gracie is likely to have survived.

“It is disappointing Gracie’s family has not received a direct apology from Dr Ubhi – in spite of him accepting he portrayed events incorrectly, which has caused Michelle so much stress over the past four years.”