GMC bans paediatrician in Clark case from child protection work

A paediatrician who contacted police with concerns that the
husband of Sally Clark had murdered their babies has been found
guilty of professional misconduct and banned from child protection
work for three years, writes Sally

Professor David Southall told police he believed Stephen Clark had
killed his sons Christopher and Harry after watching a television
documentary on the case of Sally Clark, who was jailed for the
deaths in November 1999 but cleared in December 2003.

Another seven complaints against Southall are being dealt with by
the General Medical Council and are expected to be heard in

The leading paediatrician made the call in April 2000 when he was
suspended from his duties at North Staffordshire Hospital NHS Trust
and prevented from undertaking any outside child protection work
without the permission of the trust.

In August that year he produced a report on the family at the
request of solicitors, which concluded it was extremely likely
Clark has killed his children and it was unsafe for his third child
to remain in his care.

But he wrote his report without speaking to the family, accessing
case papers, or examining X-rays or other medical reports.

At the hearing in Manchester, tribunal chairman Denis McDevitt
said: “As a potential expert witness, you had a duty to list
in your report the limitations of either the method you used come
to your conclusion or the result.”

He added the committee was concerned that Southall had been given
the opportunity to add a caveat in his report saying he had based
his opinion solely on the basis of watching a television

But McDevitt said the committee had been “extremely
impressed” by the vast number of and quality the quality of
testimonials that have been put before them that showed Southall
was held in the highest esteem by professional colleagues.

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