Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Baby P Doctor Flees Country amid Fears She Will Kill Herself

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Baby P Doctor Flees Country amid Fears She Will Kill Herself

Article excerpt

Byline: Sophie Goodchild Health editor

THE doctor accused of failing to spot that Baby P was being abused has left Britain and is said to be "suicidal" after a mental breakdown.

Consultant paediatrician Sabah Al-Zayyat, 52, was expected to appear before a General Medical Council disciplinary panel today.

She is accused of failing to spot a catalogue of injuries when she examined 17-month-old Peter Connelly at St Ann's clinic in Tottenham two days before he died in August 2007.

His mother, her boyfriend and another man were jailed for causing or allowing the toddler's death.

Dr Al-Zayyat, who was working as a locum, was the last medical professional to see Baby P. The men's trial was told that the child was likely to have already suffered significant injuries, including a broken back and ribs, at this point.

The trial heard that Dr Al-Zayyat noticed bruises but told police she did not carry out a full examination as the toddler was "miserable and cranky".

Counsel for the GMC, Rebecca Poulet QC, today said she received a report last night from a doctor who had examined Dr Al-Zayyat twice last week.

The consultant psychiatrist wrote: "In my opinion, Dr Al-Zayyat has become so seriously ill that she is unfit to defend herself before a public hearing and unfit to instruct her solicitors. The pressure on her has been such that her mental health has broken down completely, and the possibility of suicide is a very real one."

Mary O'Rourke QC, for Dr Al-Zayyat, said her instructing solicitor was told this morning that the doctor was no longer in the UK.

The GMC's disciplinary panel then adjourned until Wednesday to discuss the psychiatric reports in private, after which it will decide whether the hearing continues.

Dr Al-Zayyat was the first person to be sacked after the Baby P scandal. …

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