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
    Gillen
    .

    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
    January.

    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
    programme.

    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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