“Reckless” radiologist failed to spot lung cancer and tuberculosis at Homerton Hospital

Homerton University Hospital, Homerton Row.

Homerton University Hospital, Homerton Row. - Credit: Archant

A “reckless” and “deplorable” locum radiologist at Homerton Hospital who put patients’ lives at risk when he failed to spot lung cancer and tuberculosis has been struck off the Medical Register.

Dr Flavius Tiberiu Istrate was also found to be “inconsiderate and impolite” by a panel at the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) during a consultation with a young girl at Homerton Hospital in October 2011.

Her mother believed her daughter had cancer when he started “firing out comments”, including the fact that he had identified a “mass on the uterus”, without explaining what his findings meant.

She told the panel that she was “very upset’ by the consultation, and said: “I wanted to cry and I didn’t want my child to see me in that state.”

Istrate was found to have made 37 errors and omissions out of 62 cases reviewed over a six-week period, presenting a risk to patients’ safety when he worked as a consultant at Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. These included two instances of failing to note signs of lung cancer and one instance of failing to mention a diagnosis of tuberculosis.

Istrate, who left the UK in 2011 and no longer works as a doctor, was not present or legally represented at the hearing.

In an email he said it would “waste his money and precious time” to take part, and that he had “no further interest in working on UK soil”.

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GMC expert witness, Dr John Curtis, a consultant radiologist, concluded Istrate had made “far too many mistakes, far beyond what would be considered acceptable”.

MPTS panel chairman Peter Scofield said they had been satisfied the pattern of errors “was grievous and had serious implications for the patients”.

They also found his conduct during his consultation with Patient A had led to “unnecessary distress” and breached a number of key GMP principles, relating to the doctor-patient relationship, good communication, treating children and young people and dealing with relatives, carers and partners.

Mr Schofield said: “The panel concluded that Dr Istrate’s failure to engage with his regulatory body demonstrated a marked lack of insight into his duties as a registered medical practitioner, and that it was indicative of an attitudinal problem more generally.

“As a result of Dr Istrate’s lack of engagement, the panel has no information relating to insight or remediation and it cannot be satisfied that Dr Istrate does not present a continuing risk to patient safety.

“In these circumstances the public interest could not, and would not, be satisfied by a period of suspension and the only appropriate and proportionate sanction in this case is one of erasure.”