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UK IVF doctor disciplinary action dismissed

3 November 2008
Appeared in BioNews 482

Disciplinary proceedings against one of the UK's top fertility experts, Mohamed Taranissi, relating to allegations brought by two of his former patients, collapsed this week after the General Medical Council (GMC) ruled that there was insufficient evidence to support the charges.

Mr Taranissi was accused of failing to keep proper medical records, applying inappropriate pressure on one patient and displaying insensitivity to another. Reacting to the GMC's decision, in a statement issued through the Science Media Centre, he said: 'I am delighted that this case has collapsed. I have been put in a situation where I have had to defend myself against inaccurate allegations.' He added: 'I felt I would be letting down my staff and the patients who believe in me if I did not fight the various false allegations.'

The first patient, identified as IK, claimed she was put under inappropriate pressure after refusing to take the drug, Humira, and that she was not properly informed that the drug was unlicensed for fertility treatment in the UK. But the GMC said that there was insufficient evidence to support the claims.

The second patient, identified as CG, had to be admitted to intensive care after suffering with a rare condition called 'hyponatraemia', brought on by drinking too much water in preparation for IVF. But the GMC said that Mr Taranissi could not have been expected to diagnose the rare condition and that his allegedly 'defensive' attitude was to be expected.

A petition in support of Taranissi, signed by 92 of his current and former patients, was presented to the GMC.

Taranissi is currently also suing the BBC for libel for broadcasting a Panorama documentary showing coverage of Human Fertility and Embryology Authority (HFEA) teams carrying out simultaneous police-assisted raids on his clinics, actions which were later ruled 'unlawful'. Earlier this month the BBC received a high court order to pay £500,000 to Mr Taranissi after its lawyers took the decision to drop a 15-month-old defence that allegations broadcast in the programme were not 'defamatory', but part of 'responsible journalism'. Taranisi's ongoing claim that the BBC documentary was libellous will be heard in court in January.

In September, the HFEA was forced to annul a ban it had put in place, which prevented the fertility doctor from being the 'person responsible' for his 'Assisted Reproduction and Gynaecology Centre' (ARGC) in London, allegedly to avoid a judicial review which could damage the organisation's credibility if successful. Last year, Mt Taranissi was also cleared of allegations made by them falsely accusing him of 'exaggerating his success rates' and offering 'unnecessary and unproven' treatments.

Earlier this month Taranissi's two London fertility clinics were shown to have the highest success rates out of the 100 clinics offering IVF in the UK.

SOURCES & REFERENCES
Case against IVF doctor collapses
BBC News Online |  23 October 2008
Fertility doctor Dr Mohamed Taranissi cleared of malpractice allegations
The Times |  24 October 2008
Misconduct claims against leading IVF doctor dismissed
The Independent |  24 October 2008
Mistreatment case against top-rated IVF doctor collapses
The Guardian |  24 October 2008
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