A Harley Street doctor suspended for working while testing positive for Covid in the height of the pandemic You said your patient’s cancer treatment had priority.
Dr. Andrew Gaya was found to have “blatantly disobeyed” rules by going to work at a center for brain tumor patients after he tested positive for the disease.
The “highly respected” consultant oncologist “dishonestly” misled his colleagues that it was safe to work by keeping his positive result secret, a court found.
Dr. Gaya, whose work is at the forefront of tumor care and has been described as “world-class,” said he defied covid-19 rules because he believed “the risk of harm to his patient” by delaying the treatment was “greater than the risk”. he posed.”
Now the 27-year-old doctor has been suspended for three months in a Practicing Physician Tribunal.
The audience was informed that Dr. Gaya was infected with Covid-19 at the beginning of the pandemic in late March 2020 and stayed home for seven days, following the guidance.
As of early April 2020, Dr. Gaya was still testing positive and was instructed not to work until he had two negative results.
However, on April 3 and 6, he attended The London Gamma Knife Centre, a specialized center that uses state-of-the-art targeted radiotherapy to treat brain tumors.
Dr. Gaya’s employer discovered that he had signed treatment forms for two patients who had died within days of treatment, at a time when he was ill with Covid. After an investigation, they reported his concerns to the General Medical Council, which led to court.
‘Act in the best interest of my patient’
Dr. Gaya said he made the decision to “conceal” his covid-19 status for the benefit of two patients, named only Patient B and Patient A, who needed his “urgent” care.
He said: “I did not take the decision to attend the Center on April 3, 2020 lightly and I knew that I did not agree with the instructions that I had been given.
“At the time I thought that I was not going to do any harm and that I was acting in the best interest of the patient since the case was urgent.
“I believed it posed minimal risk to patients and staff as it was operating within national infection control guidelines.
“I decided that the risk of harm to Patient B by delaying his treatment was greater than the risk I posed to staff and patient by attending the Center.
“On April 6, 2020, Patient E was scheduled for [Gamma knife] Treatment of multiple brain metastases.
“This was in the back of my mind over the weekend as I focused on…my family. Having said that, I was aware that my Covid-19 test on April 2nd had come back positive and that I had been retested on April 4th and 5th.
“My thoughts were again that when I weighed the risk of the patient’s treatment being delayed, versus any risk of infection that I might have, I decided that the risk to the patient of delaying treatment was significantly higher.
“I made the decision to attend the Center again, so that Patient E could receive her treatment, which I considered clinically urgent, as planned.”
Dr. Gaya said he was wearing PPE, maintaining social distancing, and “an added factor was that I love my job.”
He was afraid that he would not have been allowed to work if he was honest about his Covid-19 status, but accepted that he should have informed the Center.
Dr. Gaya, who currently treats up to 400 patients, said “what he did was very wrong and it happened at a time when an exceptional number of personal and professional circumstances collided.”
‘Dr Gaya put patients and colleagues at risk’
The Court of Practicing Physicians ruled that Dr. Gaya put patients and colleagues at risk of contracting covid-19 at a time when not much was known about the contagious disease.
Ian Comfort, Chief Justice, said: “The Court found that by attending the Center on April 6, 2020 to treat Patient E and failing to report… that he had tested positive for Covid-19, Dr. Gaya deliberately concealed important information and gave the misleading impression that it was safe to work.
“The Court found this to be dishonest by the standards of ordinary decent people, as Dr. Gaya knew what the guidelines required of him.
“The Tribunal found that Dr. Gaya showed blatant disregard for [his Covid-19 instructions].
“He was also dishonest on April 6, 2020, deliberately withholding important information… that he was positive for Covid-19.”
Dr Gaya graduated from the University of London in 1995 and, at the material time, had private practice privileges with HCA Healthcare UK.
The London Gamma Knife Center is part of HCA.