A Hungarian paediatric surgeon, Dr György Rákóczy, was suspended for three months in 2012 after he injected a four-year-old patient with a potentially fatal dose of carbolic acid during an operation. He failed the English language exam six times.
The doctor graduated in 1979 from the Semmelweis University of Medicine, and he became a pediatric surgeon in 1989. He has been practising in the UK since 2005. Dailymail reported that Dr Rákóczy did not manage to overcome the difficulties of learning English, and after he failed the language exam in reading, writing, listening, and speaking several times, concerns were raised about his grasp of the language.
He argued that he was discriminated against since it is rather difficult for older people to learn a new language.
Last year, he was placed under conditional registration and required to improve his language skills and complete an English language assessment course. However, he still has not passed his exams. Dr Rákóczy claimed that the IELTS tests were not appropriate for learners over the age of 60.
The consultant paediatric surgeon was found guilty of ‘serious professional misconduct’ and was suspended in 2012 after
he wrongly injected a young boy with a concentration of 80% Phenol, which is 16 times the proper dose. The patient suffered serious internal injuries and had to undergo over 30 corrective operations.
Dr Rákóczy even submitted a complaint to the General Medical Council, referring to his age as a hindering factor, and asked for permission to practise without any restriction. The Tribunal did not accept his submission, arguing that age is not an acceptable excuse to be allowed to practise unrestricted and risk patients’ health without the necessary language skills. The Tribunal also concluded that since his specialism is not vital in the fight against coronavirus, the pandemic crisis cannot be regarded as an exceptional circumstance.
According to the current decision, Dr Rákóczy’s fitness to practise is still impaired due to his inadequate language skills, but he is allowed to return to work at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital for one year under certain conditions.