Doctor did not look at corpses, hearing is told

IPSWICH: A doctor employed to identify bodies before they were cremated failed to even look at the corpses, a hearing has heard.

Dr Venkateswaran Mahadevan broke guidelines at Ipswich Hospital when he claimed to have carried out a “careful external examination” of the deceased, the General Medical Council (GMC) was told.

The examinations were part of hospital safety measures to prevent the wrong patients being cremated or pacemakers being incinerated.

Riel Karmy-Jones, for the GMC, said the doctor “falsely completed” cremation forms stating he had properly examined the bodies of three patients.

He also failed to question the relevant doctor about the death certificates of two of those patients, the hearing was told.

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Miss Karmy-Jones said: “Dr Mahadevan did not appropriately question the medical practitioner who completed the form in relation to the two patients and also that he did not appropriately examine all the three patients before he completed the cremation form.

“He therefore falsely completed the forms, filling in the declaration that he had both carefully examined the bodies and questioned the attending doctor.

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“These steps are important. The forms are important and they are there by statutory requirement specifically to provide an important safeguard in respect of the disposal of the deceased.

“The GMC will be submitting that the doctor committed misconduct and therefore his fitness to practise is in question.”

Dr Mahadevan is alleged to have visited the hospital mortuary on October 26, 2007, but failed to check the patients’ identities and only glanced at the name tags on the fridge doors, it is claimed.

When mortuary technician Shane Mongor moved to display the corpses, he told him “that’s fine”, the hearing was told.

Miss Karmy-Jones asked Mr Mongor: “From what you saw, did Dr Mahadevan actually inspect the bodies?”

“Not with me, no,” he replied.

“In the eight months that I had worked there before this occasion, I can’t remember an occasion where he did.

“My situation was that I was new to the job and I didn’t have the authority to question what a doctor was signing for.”

Dr Mahadevan denies that he failed to properly check the bodies. He will explain to the GMC that he carried out the checks the previous day, on October 25.

Dr Mahadevan, of Ipswich, faces six charges in relation to his conduct with three unnamed patients.

He admits completing forms for three patients, declaring he had carefully examined the bodies and that he had questioned the medical practitioners involved.

But he denies failing to carry out that examination or questioning.

He further denies two charges of dishonesty. If found guilty, he faces being struck off.

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