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High Court quashes GMC suspension of consultant for carrying phial of blood in hand luggage

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e6964 (Published 16 October 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e6964
  1. Clare Dyer
  1. 1BMJ

The UK General Medical Council’s action in suspending a consultant who carried a phial of HIV infected blood in his hand luggage on a flight from Nigeria to the United Kingdom was “heavy handed and disproportionate,” a High Court judge has ruled.

Mr Justice Burnett quashed the UK medical regulator’s interim suspension order on Tubonye Harry, a consultant in genitourinary medicine, which prevented him practising medicine in the UK while awaiting a full fitness to practise hearing.

The court heard that Harry, who qualified in Nigeria and had been a consultant since 1996, was summarily dismissed from his post with the James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in Norfolk last January after an internal disciplinary inquiry.

“The transportation of human blood is governed by strict regulations,” said the judge. “On a return journey from Nigeria in December 2010, Dr Harry accepted that he carried two samples of blood, one infected …

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