A DOCTOR, who almost died after a mismanaged angioplasty that led in part to the largest fine in the Medical Board of Australia’s history, has told how the experience ended his medical career.
Dr Gary Hastwell, a former WA obstetrician who had to give up his medical practice, also revealed that Perth cardiologist Dr KEITH WOOLLARD, AMA president from 1996 to 1998, had still not apologised for a potentially fatal series of errors during an angioplasty in 2009.
Dr Woollard admitted professional misconduct in relation to an angioplasty performed on Dr Hastwell and to acting carelessly and incompetently in relation to those performed earlier on a female patient which together resulted in a $75,000 fine and his being banned from performing angioplasty or stenting for at least 5 years.
Dr Hastwell was 69 when a GP referral put him in Dr Woollard’s care in 2009 with faintness and tachycardia. An angiogram found several severe stenoses and a possible aneurysm. Dr Woollard referred him for coronary artery bypass grafting.
But after Dr Hastwell asked about angioplasty and stenting, Dr Woollard did that procedure, which the Tribunal found was contraindicated, and without timely administration of an anticoagulant.
After a thrombus was detected in the left main artery, he also failed to call an emergency resuscitation team or cardiothoracic surgeon when Dr Hastwell went into asystole and needed up to three defibrillation shocks.
Dr Woollard later maintained the decision not to administer an anticoagulant until much later was a nursing error. Yes, of course doctor, blame the nurse.
“There’s a credibility issue,” Dr Hastwell said of the delay.
“Dr Woollard said it wasn’t a thrombosis when all his actions and everybody else said it was. He said it was a dissection. Thrombosis is a clot; a dissection is splitting a vessel, which is a known complication, but he then said not giving the anticoagulant therefore had no consequence.”
Unbelievably Dr Woollard remains chairman of the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand’s General Cardiology Council!
22 July 2013