Former Army doctor struck off over death of Iraq detainee Baha Mousa

 

A former Army doctor's career lay in ruins today after he was struck off the medical register over the death of Iraqi detainee Baha Mousa.

Dr Derek Keilloh, 38, a respected family GP, was left "extremely disappointed" by the decision of the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS), at the conclusion of a marathon 47-day hearing in Manchester.

The father of two did "everything possible" to save Mr Mousa's life - but then claimed not to have seen evidence of the severe beating he took at the hands of fellow soldiers.

Mr Mousa's father, Colonel Daoud Mousa, said: "I wanted the doctor to be banned for life. He did not have humanity in his heart when he was supposed to be caring for my son. He did not do his job properly."

Now a popular and "conscientious" family doctor, Dr Keilloh was the medic in charge who supervised a failed resuscitation attempt on Mr Mousa, who had been hooded, handcuffed and severely beaten by soldiers after his arrest as a suspected insurgent in war-torn Basra in September 2003.

Dr Keilloh, then a captain and regimental medical officer of the 1st Battalion, Queen's Lancashire Regiment (1QLR), claimed later that he saw only dried blood around the nose of Mr Mousa, 26, while giving mouth-to-mouth and CPR.

His body swollen and bruised, Mr Mousa, a father of two, had suffered 93 separate injuries, including fractured ribs and a broken nose.

An innocent hotel receptionist, he was arrested in an Army crackdown by soldiers who believed, wrongly, that he was an insurgent involved in the murder of four of their colleagues the month before.

The MPTS found Dr Keilloh guilty of misconduct following Mr Mousa's death and announced "with regret" the only "appropriate sanction" was banning him from working as a doctor.

An online petition and support from patients and fellow doctors now working with Dr Keilloh failed to save his job, despite him being described in glowing terms.

Dr Alderman, chair of the MPTS panel, said this was an "unfortunate case" and Dr Keilloh had been described as an excellent doctor but an "unambiguous signal" must be sent out about "conduct unbefitting a doctor".

The panel heard that at the time of Mr Mousa's death, Dr Keilloh was aged 28, eight weeks into the job, an inexperienced and inadequately-trained young medic, given little supervision or support by the QLR, which was fighting a growing insurgency in the chaotic and lawless sprawling southern city in Iraq.

The MPTS recognised Dr Keilloh, now a GP at Mayford House Surgery in Northallerton, North Yorkshire, worked in a "highly charged, chaotic, tense and stressful" situation.

But they ruled he must have seen the injuries and, especially as a doctor, had a duty to act.

They questioned his honesty and "probity" after he lied to Army investigators about the injuries and, in sticking to his story, giving evidence in subsequent courts martial and a public inquiry.

The MPTS also said Dr Keilloh, knowing of Mr Mousa's injuries and sudden death, did not do enough to protect his patients, the other detainees, from further mistreatment - breaking a "fundamental tenet" of the medical profession.

Dr Keilloh took up his post in Basra in July 2003, with the city falling apart as over-stretched British soldiers tried to fill the vacuum left by the collapse of Saddam Hussein's police state.

Mr Mousa was dead within 36 hours of his arrest by 1QLR soldiers after a swoop against insurgents in the city on September 14, 2003.

Ahmed Al Matairi, who was also detained and beaten, described hearing the final words of Mr Mousa, a widower, as he was beaten.

He said: "I am innocent. Blood! Blood! I am going to die. My children are going to become orphans."

Dr Jim Rodger, medical adviser at the Medical and Dental Defence Union of Scotland, said: "Dr Keilloh is extremely disappointed at the decision of this Fitness to Practise Panel and he will need time to consider the implications of this erasure and his future course of action.

"He would like to say how much he appreciated the wealth of support he has received from his family, patients, colleagues and friends."

Dr Keilloh, who qualified in medicine at the University of Aberdeen, has 28 days to appeal against the decision in the High Court to save his career.

Phil Shiner, of Public Interest Lawyers, said: "The medical profession is well rid of such a man. All those UK doctors in Iraq who also saw signs of ill-treatment of Iraqi detainees but took no action had best start to instruct lawyers."

PA

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