How sick can you get? Doctor falsely diagnosed children with cancerSeptember 1, 2021
Just how sick can you get? Meet the doctor who falsely diagnosed children with cancer… to scare their parents into paying for private treatment provided by HIS healthcare company
- Dr Mina Chowdhury scared parents by falsely diagnosing children with cancer
- Persuaded three families to pay for tests run by his company, Meras Healthcare
- Faced being struck off after he was found guilty of misconduct and suspended
A doctor frightened parents into paying for private treatment by falsely diagnosing their children with cancer.
Dr Mina Chowdhury persuaded three separate families to pay for scans and tests run by his own company, Meras Healthcare.
He also steered them away from free NHS treatment and refused to let the families’ GPs know what treatment he had decided on.
Yesterday Chowdhury faced the prospect of being struck off after he was found guilty of misconduct and suspended.
A Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) panel concluded that his behaviour was dishonest by reason of financial motivation.
Dr Mina Chowdhury (pictured in 2019) frightened parents into paying for private treatment run by his company, Meras Healthcare by falsely diagnosing their children with cancer
The panel also found Chowdhury, based in Stirling in Scotland, guilty of failing to provide ‘good clinical care’ and creating an ‘unwarranted sense of concern without clinical justification’.
Chowdhury consulted three separate families over a six-month period in 2017, during which he told one family that their child had cancer on their leg and that a NHS referral ‘would be confusing’.
He also told another family that the reason their toddler had a high level of ‘B cells’ in their body could be due to blood cancer or lymphoma.
Chowdhury told the same family that he knew a place in London that would offer treatment for the cancer, without any form of clinical justification, and falsely claimed that nowhere in Scotland carried out echocardiograms – a widely used type of heart scan – on children.
The MPTS also found that he suggested a course of private treatment that was ‘disproportionately expensive’ without offering any referral for NHS treatment.
Chowdhury tried this again with another family, telling them: ‘We are now going to have a serious conversation.
‘We are going to have the conversation that all parents dread. We are going to talk about the “C word”.’
After this, he advised the parents that their children should have a number of blood tests, costing them £3,245, and that they should travel to London for an MRI scan.
Yesterday Chowdhury, based in Stirling in Scotland, faced the prospect of being struck off after he was found guilty of misconduct and suspended
He also refused to write a letter confirming his care and treatment for these patients to their GPs. One of the children examined by the doctor was only two-and-a-half years old. The child’s mother, referred to as Parent B, wanted tests for cystic fibrosis but Chowdhury had made her ‘head spin’ by raising other potential conditions including blood cancer.
She described how this had baffled her, and said she was taken aback to think her two-year-old could have blood cancer, telling Chowdhury that it was a big shock. But he was not very reassuring and seemed quite matter-of-fact, according to the concerned mother.
The child’s blood tests came back clear, but Parent B said Chowdhury’s false diagnosis affected her for months.
Dr William Ginbey, who gave evidence, said blood cancer is ‘extraordinarily unlikely’ in children.
A Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service panel concluded that his behaviour was dishonest by reason of financial motivation. Pictured: Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service in Manchester
He added: ‘If Dr Chowdhury had felt blood cancer or lymphoma were likely then I would have expected him to discuss with or immediately refer Patient B to the local NHS paediatric oncology service.’
MPTS chairman James Newton-Price told the hearing: ‘Having made findings that Dr Chowdhury had made cancer diagnoses without sufficient investigation or justification and that he had then recommended unnecessary private testing and investigations that were financially motivated, and that he had made untrue records in relation to [a] Patient C, it followed inevitably that Dr Chowdhury’s actions were dishonest by the standards of ordinary people.
‘The tribunal found that Dr Chowdhury’s financial motivation and dishonesty as described above amounted to misconduct in the exercise of his professional practice.’
The panel imposed an interim suspension order of nine months, with the tribunal recovening in January next year to make a formal decision on his registration
Chowdhury was last night unavailable for comment.
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