Intended for healthcare professionals


Doctor referred to GMC after inquiry into epilepsy diagnoses

BMJ 2001; 323 doi: (Published 08 December 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;323:1323
  1. Caroline White
  1. London

    An independent review of the management of childhood epilepsy at Leicester Royal Infirmary has confirmed allegations of misdiagnosis and overtreatment against consultant paediatrician Dr Andrew Holton. The hospital has now referred the matter to the General Medical Council.

    Since his appointment in 1990, Dr Holton has cared for just over 10000 children, almost 2000 of whom he diagnosed as having epilepsy. So far, the case notes of 214 children have been examined in the three stage review, carried out by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health Specialty Advisory Committee in Paediatric Neurology. Sixteen hundred cases remain to be reviewed.

    Of the 214 cases, 171 gave definite or possible “cause for concern.” Just over a third of the children were not thought to have had epilepsy, and just under a third were thought to have been overtreated. To date, the investigating team have managed to review in greater depth the diagnosis and treatment of only 45 of these children, but it has concluded that there is “some level of concern in approximately 80%.”

    The findings have prompted the regional director of public health …

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