Dr Hannah Ryan has been praised as 'amazing'
Dr Hannah Ryan was one of the first UK medics to travel to Sierra Leone with Ms Cafferkey and other volunteers to help treat victims of the deadly outbreak that killed thousands in West Africa in 2014.
Another volunteer, Dr Sharon Irvine, told the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service: “Hannah is amazing. She’s one of the best doctors I have worked with ever.”
But the tribunal in Manchester has heard that when they returned to the UK Dr Ryan took Ms Cafferkey’s temperature for ebola screening and “acquiesced” in not reporting a raised temperature indicative of infection.
Ms Cafferkey was allowed to leave Heathrow Airport in London but fell seriously ill the next day.
All the medics had worked in “horrendous” conditions, the tribunal heard, having to wear face masks and heavy, head-to-toe protective clothing in searing heat, working in pairs in case of fainting, while treating women, children and men dying from the virus.
When they got back to the UK on December 28, 2014 after two months away they were “keen” to get back home to loved ones.
Nurse Pauline Cafferkey was struck down with the ebola virus
But the PHE screening process to ensure no one brought the virus back to the UK was “shambolic”, the hearing was told. Dr Ryan took Ms Cafferkey’s temperature as 38.2C – above the 37.5C threshold as a warning sign for ebola infection.
Hannah is amazing. She’s one of the best doctors I have worked with ever
Dr Sharon Irvine
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The doctor was in a state of “disbelief, fear and panic” at the raised reading and instead of alerting the PHE medics at Heathrow a lower temperature of 37.2C was given.
Dr Ryan denies writing the 37.2C temperature for Ms Cafferkey on the form handed to PHE screening staff at Heathrow. Instead she admits she “acquiesced” in the wrong temperature being given.
Nurse Donna Wood was suspended for two months last year
Her counsel, Richard Booth QC, suggested it was nurse Donna Wood who had put the false temperature on the form to hand in.
Mr Booth asked Mrs Wood: “Did you say something along the lines of, ‘I’m going to write it down as 37.2 and then we will get out of here’?”
Mrs Wood replied: “You are absolutely mistaken, I did not say that.”
Mr Booth said she was an experienced nurse and Dr Ryan an inexperienced doctor. He continued: “At that moment as a very experienced nurse you, in fact, took charge of the situation? You were desperate to get out of the screening area.” She replied: “Absolutely not.”
Last year, Mrs Wood was suspended for two months after a Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) panel found she had suggested putting the lower temperature on the form.
The NMC said her fitness to practise had been impaired on public interest grounds and her misconduct could have contributed to the risk of ebola spreading into the UK.
Mrs Wood told Dr Ryan’s tribunal: “Whilst I accept what the NMC’s findings were, I don’t necessarily agree.”
Ms Cafferkey was cleared of allowing the incorrect temperature to be recorded, as her judgment at the airport had been so impaired by the developing illness that she could not be found guilty of misconduct, the NMC ruled.
Dr Ryan’s tribunal continues.