British pathologist criticised by General Medical Council

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Dr Freddy Patel, a former British Home Office pathologist, has been criticised by a panel at the General Medical Council (GMC), Britain's regulatory body for doctors. Dr Patel had concluded that the death of Sally White in 2002, the first victim of Anthony Hardy (the so-called "Camden Ripper"), could have been from natural causes.

The report produced by Dr Patel concluded that Sally White had been having consensual sex in her apartment when she died of a heart attack, in spite of blood stains on her clothing, blood at the scene, damage to Ms White's liver and bite marks. The GMC panel found that Dr Patel had included inaccurate information on his CV and had shown "deficient professional performance" in the evaluation of the cause of Sally White's death. They concluded that this investigation was "irresponsible, not of the standard expected of a competent forensic pathologist and liable to bring the medical profession into disrepute". Dr Patel is currently suspended and the decision of the panel may lead to him being struck off.

The GMC had previously investigated Dr Patel and criticised his investigation of the death of Ian Tomlinson, a newspaper seller who died during the G20 protests in London. He concluded that the death was caused by coronary heart disease; subsequent investigations by other pathologists showed that he had died from internal bleeding caused by a blunt force trauma — an assault by a police officer caught on video. The Director of Public Prosecution noted afterwards that the mistakes in the forensic pathology report by Dr Patel had made it significantly harder to bring the police officer who fatally assaulted Ian Tomlinson to justice. Dr Patel has also been investigated by the GMC for alleged misconduct in the investigation of the deaths of two children.