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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Professor David Southall could face the end of his career after a further reprimand from the General Medical Council

Controversial paediatrician reprimanded again

Extract from The Guardian:

"Leading paediatrician Professor David Southall could face the end of his career after the General Medical Council found yesterday that he inappropriately accused a distressed mother of drugging and then murdering her 10-year-old son.

The GMC tribunal will sit again today to decide whether Southall's behaviour constitutes serious professional misconduct and if so, what the penalty should be.

Southall has faced a series of inquiries by the GMC into allegations brought by parents of children taken into care on the basis of his evidence of abuse.

He was banned from child protection work for three years after he was found guilty of serious professional misconduct in 2004 for accusing jailed solicitor Sally Clark's husband of murdering their children on the basis of remarks he made on a television programme. Clark was later freed on appeal and has since died.

Yesterday's hearing concerned a woman referred to only as Mrs M, whose older son had been found hanged in 1996. Southall was asked to prepare an independent report for Shropshire county council in 1998, after concerns about the safety of the younger son, then eight years old, led to him being taken into care.

The GMC panel found that Southall went beyond his remit in accusing M of killing the older boy.

Giving evidence by video link from Adelaide, where she now lives, M said Southall had repeatedly asked her how the older boy died and she demonstrated using a pencil and a shoelace. She told the panel that Southall looked at her and said "very clever" in a sarcastic voice.

The boy was found hanging from a curtain rail. Southall said to her, she continued, sobbing: "I put it to you that you killed your son by injecting him, hanging him up, leaving him there and then ringing an ambulance.""

I hope that the GMC decides on the severest penalty for this foolish, dangerous man, who has caused grieving parents and families such great, needless, unjustified further suffering.