Doctor struck off after preparing 'misleading' holiday sickness claims for law firm where his wife worked
A doctor who prepared “misleading” holiday sickness claims for the law firm his wife worked at has been struck off.
Dr Zuber Bux diagnosed patients with food poisoning without sufficient evidence and failed to declare his wife Sehana was a director at the law firm using him as a medical expert for court cases, a tribunal ruled. It said his actions were misleading, dishonest, and motivated by money.
Chairman Dr Julia Oakford said Bux failed to consider alternative diagnoses because “it was in his interest to write a positive report to enable him to sustain this stream of work”.
She added: “The holiday sickness claims misconduct involved dishonesty that was covered up. It involved lying to solicitors, false declarations to the court, deceptive expert reports, and it was financially motivated. Overall, it was wholly deplorable and reprehensible behaviour by a doctor.”
The hearing was told a tour operator became suspicious after a tourist said she got food poisoning from a buffet-style eatery in Mauritius. A resort doctor had diagnosed her with diarrhoea, nausea and viral acute colitis, but Dr Bux, who was preparing a medical report for AMS Solicitors, in Pittman Way, Preston, via an agency, diagnosed her with infective gastroenteritis as a result of food poisoning following a telephone consultation.
The General Medical Council was alerted after a manager at Beachcomber Tours handling the claim discovered Sehana Bux was both a partner at AMS Solicitors and Dr Bux’s wife.
Mrs Bux said she was not involved with the claims involving her husband, saying it was “undertaken by some of the team I managed”, while Dr Bux, who also worked as a GP in Blackpool said a ‘Chinese wall’ was set up so “that there was no crossover between his work and his wife’s”, the tribunal was told. The agency, Medico Legal and Litigation Services Limited, also told Dr Bux there was no conflict of interest because Mrs Bux worked on traffic cases, the tribunal was told.
But Dr Oakford said: “The tribunal found it would be difficult to conclude” Mrs Bux “could not have had any sight, knowledge, or be part of the claims process” because she “was not only a salaried partner but had management responsibility in relation to the claims department”. Mrs Bux resigned as a director at AMS Solicitors in July, according to Companies House.
In another case, a tourist fell ill on holiday in Fuerteventura and was diagnosed with hives and treated with adrenaline injections by a local doctor. She later went to a local hospital where she was treated with steroid injections and a doctor recorded symptoms of anaphylaxis - a rash - and prescribed a course of steroids. Months later, Dr Bux, who was involved in 400 reports from 2015-’17, diagnosed her with an anaphylactic reaction secondary to infective gastroenteritis caused by food poisoning.
He diagnosed another couple with food poisoning after they holidayed in Benidorm, and another patient with food poisoning after they went on a Thomas Cook holiday in Majorca.
In each case, he diagnosed food poisoning without sufficient evidence, the panel concluded.
Dr Bux, who graduated from the University of Liverpool in 1994, worked as an agency GP at practices in Liverpool, Blackpool, and Preston, between August 2017 until early 2018. Since then, he has been working at the Gutteridge Practice in Preston and a surgery in Blackburn.
He performs circumcisions on babies across Lancashire, with the tribunal also ruling that he “inappropriately” carried out a procedure on a 15-month-old child without an adequate medical history, including details of a congenital heart condition. He failed to recognise the high risk of performing the procedure in the community, in light of the heart condition, or consider it should have been done in a hospital.
The boy, who was not given sufficient analgesia, became unwell and ended up in hospital. The panel said the boy could have died, with Dr Oakford saying Dr Bux “adopted a cavalier approach to the procedure, resulting in a hospital admission of Patient A in a potentially life-threatening situation”.