Hungarian doctor who failed 6 English tests after misreading medicine label left boy disabled banned

Hungarian doctor who failed 6 English tests after misreading medicine label left boy disabled banned

Bungling Hungarian doctor, 70, who failed English test six times after he misread label on medication bottle and left four-year-old boy fighting for life is banned from treating patients

  • Hungarian doctor who failed 6 English tests after boy nearly died is suspended
  • Dr Gyorgy Rakoczy, 70, misread label, giving boy carbolic acid overdose in 2009
  • He was told by the GMC to improve his English but he failed to pass the exams
  • The ex-Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital paediatrician blamed ‘ageist’ tests

Hungarian Dr Gyorgy Rakoczy (pictured), 70, has been suspended over his poor English skills years after he misread a medicine label leaving a boy, 4, fighting for his life

A bungling Hungarian children’s doctor who failed six English tests after he misread a on a medication bottle and left a little boy fighting for life has been banned from treating patients.

Dr Gyorgy Rakoczy, now 70, failed tests in listening reading, writing and speaking after previously being reprimanded for wrongly injecting the four-year-old boy with a potentially lethal amount of carbolic acid during a bungled hospital operation.

Dr Rakoczy was reported to the General Medical Council over concerns about his command of the English language and was ordered to undergo retraining in 2019.

But the consultant paediatrician, who worked at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital in Manchester, failed to pass the requisite tests and instead blamed the exams themselves for being ‘ageist’ towards him.

At the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service in Manchester, Rakoczy, was suspended from practising medicine in the UK for a year after a review hearing last month.

He says he no longer wants to work in British healthcare and has requested voluntary erasure from the GMC medical register.

Rakoczy had originally been disciplined after a botched operation at the hospital in May 2009 in which the unnamed boy was injected with 80 per cent phenol – also known as carbolic acid.

At the time Rakoczy – who was said to have a ‘limited command’ of the English language – was meant to use a five per cent concentration of the substance but mis-read the label.

The boy had been admitted for examination under general anaesthetic after his parents suspected he had a haemorrhoid – which Dr Rakoczy treated.

The consultant paediatrician, who worked at the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital in Manchester, failed to pass the requisite tests and instead blamed the exams themselves for being 'ageist' towards him

The consultant paediatrician, who worked at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital in Manchester, failed to pass the requisite tests and instead blamed the exams themselves for being ‘ageist’ towards him 

But he was left with ‘catastrophic’ internal injuries and needing a colostomy bag after Dr Rakoczy injected the child with 16 times the correct dose of carbolic acid and four times a potentially lethal dose.

The highly-corrosive liquid burned away parts of the boy’s body leaving him with a hole down to the bone at the base of his spine.

He has since required over 30 corrective operations, including the removal of a section of bowel and his parents – both healthcare professionals – said their son found it difficult going to the park and attending birthday parties.

Rakoczy was allowed to carry on working at the hospital following the operation but was suspended for three months in 2012 for serious misconduct.

Dr Racoczy’s history of issues with English

  • In 2009, Hungarian doctor Gyorgy Racoczy, now 70, misread a label for a carbolic acid bottle during surgery on a boy, 4, and injected a huge overdose, which left the boy  fighting for his life and disabled
  • In 2012 he was suspended from practising for three months over the incident in Manchester
  • In 2019 he was told by the GMC to pass English language tests to keep working as a doctor
  • In 2020 he admitted failing the tests six times but called them ‘ageist’
  • He has now been suspended for a year – but Dr Racoczy has said he will strike himself off the register 

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He underwent an assessment of his performance in 2016 and the following year took a test under the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) but scored 6.0, shy of the 7.5 pass mark.

The 2019 tribunal was told a team of assessors said there were ‘issues with his command of English’ and ‘had difficulties with the use of it’ with one saying she ‘struggled to understand Rakcozy at times’.

But hospital colleagues said whilst the surgeon’s English was ‘not perfect’ it had ‘improved considerably’ and he was able to discuss matters and participate in team meetings. A patient also came forward to say the doctor would ‘go beyond the call of duty’ and added that she would be happy for him to ‘perform surgery on her child tomorrow.’

In 2020 Rakoczy took a Occupational English Test (OET) but only scored an average of 327.5 against the requirement of 350 and was ordered to work under supervision for another year. At a third review hearing in last year, it emerged he had not attempted to complete another test since and he was suspended for 12 months.

At the latest hearing Rakoczy argued the tests were ‘discriminatory’ against people over the age of 60 and said he had lodged an appeal to the High Court on behalf of ‘other doctors in the UK.’

But Ms Anam Khan counsel for the GMC said: ‘The doctor has again done nothing to engage with the expectations of him to seek to remediate his impairment by improving his English language.

‘The results of such a test are a key factor in deciding if a doctor is impaired because they lack the necessary knowledge of English. Dr Rakoczy has failed to discharge the responsibility that rests upon him to show why he ought to be allowed to return to unrestricted practice.’

She added: ‘Dr Rakoczy was previously under conditional registration, imposed in both 2019 and 2020, and he had failed sufficiently to engage with the conditions and undergo an appropriate English language test. He has not responded to remediation and has limited insight. It is not safe for Dr Rakoczy to return to unrestricted practice.’

MPTS chairman Damian Cooper said: ‘In focusing on the age discrimination matter rather than undertaking either the IELTS or OET Test demonstrated a lack of insight by Dr Rakoczy.’

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Oliver Price

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