A doctor who deleted medical records in a bid to cover up mistakes has been suspended for three months.
Dr Victor Ebenuwa, a partner at the Margaret Thompson Medical Centre in Speke, also misdiagnosed a patient’s condition and medication, a medical practitioners tribunal hearing heard.
He had misread blood test results and prescribed treatment for an overactive, rather than underactive thyroid.
He expressed “regret and apologies” when his errors came to light.
When he realised his mistake, Dr Ebenuwa deleted records and changed data to show the medication he had prescribed was actually part of the man’s existing medical history, the hearing heard.
The tribunal was told how in March 2021, the man known as Patient A, had a consultation with Dr Ebenuwa and was sent for tests.
The GP then put Patient A on medication to treat thyroid deficiency.
He realised his mistake a month later, when the man was admitted to Whiston Hospital after having a heart attack.
Dr Ebenuwa then amended records held for Patient A and deleted logs of a telephone consultation held between the two.
He did not at any point tell Patient A to stop taking the medication or communicate the errors he had made, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.
The patient had a second heart attack and died in July 2021, but Dr Ebenuwa’s actions were not thought to have been a direct causal link to the man’s death.
Dr Ebenuwa qualified from the University of Lagos, Nigeria, in 1989.
He qualified as a Family Physician in 2000 and then went on to practise as a GP and trainer in Nigeria before moving to the UK in 2003.
‘Influenced by shame’
Dr Ebenuwa joined the Margaret Thompson Medical Centre in 2006 and became a partner four years later.
The hearing was told the daughter of Patient A requested medical records from the practice following her father’s death.
A meeting between her, practice officials and Dr Ebenuwa was held in February 2022, in which the doctor admitted he had misunderstood the initial test results.
Counsel representing the General Medical Council said Dr Ebenuwa’s actions may not have come to light had Patient A’s daughter not requested the records.
It was said Dr Ebenuwa’s decisions had been “designed to conceal his error” and he had admitted dishonesty.
The hearing was told how the doctor had said his behaviour was “out of character” and his move to delete records had been “influenced by fear and shame”.
It was said the doctor had “buried his head in the sand and assumed all was well”.
He had expressed “regret and apologies” when his errors came to light.
The panel was satisfied that Dr Ebenuwa did not pose any safety risk to members of the public.